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Heyking, Al'fons Al'fonsovich. 
Ll8Hli9 The main issues confronting the 

minorities of Latvia and Eesti, 






Ex Libris 
; C. K. OGDEN 





Baron A. Heyking, 

Ph. D., D. C. L. 










Baron A x . Heyking, 

Ph. D., D. C. L. 







Preface 4 

Chapter I 

An Historic Survey of the Cultural Conditions of the Baltic Lands 5 

Chapter II 

The Baltic Minorities' Rights. Their relation to Municipal and Inter- 
national Law. Lecture delivered at the Grotius Society in London, 
November 1921 13 

Chapter III 

The Baltic Minorities' Rights detailed. Paper read at the 
Assembly of the International Law Association at The Hague, Sep- 
tember 1921 22 

Chapter IV 

Safeguarding the Rights of the Baltic Minorities. Paper presented 
to the Council of the Federation of the League of Nations Societies 
at Vienna, October 1921 26 

Chapter V 

Instances of Breach of the Minorities' Rights in Latvia and Eesti. 31 

Chapter VI 

Nationality. A plea for Reform. Paper read at a Committee on Natio- 
nality appointed by the International Law Association at 2 King's 
J Bench Walk, Temple, London on February 24 th 1922 . 38 


The present publication consists of an historic survey 
of Latvia and Eesti, a chapter of separate cases concerning 
the breach of the minorities' rights in these countries and 
four papers bearing on the Baltic minorities' rights. The latter, 
having been abridged to avoid repetition and certain passages 
amplified, give useful information about a question which 
deserves the immediate and earnest attention of Europe be- 
fore it is too late. 

London, June 1922. 

The Author. 

Chapter I. 

An Historic Survey of the Cultural Conditions 
of the Baltic Lands. 

The beginnig of the history of the Baltic States resembles early 
English history in so far as the Saxon founders of the English heptarchy 
were of the same racial origin as those of Livonia. Up to the present 
tin (Estonians, natives of Estonia and Livonia, call the people of Teu- 
tonic descent inhabiting the Provinces, ,,Saxons". Looking through the 
historic vista of the past, the English Saxons may be reminded that 
there is a close relationship between themselves and the Baltic Saxons, 
although centuries of a different fate have, to a certain extent, obscured 
the remembrance of the tie between the people of these happy islands 
and those of the severely tried Baltic shores. Since their foundation by 
the Saxons, both countries have been over-run by various invaders, but 
neither actually lost touch with the other. Two illustrations of this fact 
may be quoted: King James I~~of England gave the island of Tobago, 
one of the Lesser Antilles, as a present to his godchild, James Duke of 
Courland, of the Kett.ler Dynasty; then again, many British families 
such as Hill, Scott, Jacobs, Addison, Magnus, Miller, Proctor, Armit- 
stead, Gregg, Gordon, Bruce, Keith and others emmigrated to the Baltic 
lands and intermarried with the local nobility and bourgeoisie. 

In prehistoric times Finnish Mongolic tribes occupied the territory 
stretching from the Caspian and Ural seas to the shores of the Baltic. 
In the times of early Russian history, Slavonic tribes which had .their 
habitation west of the tribes of the Mongolic race, succeeded in subduing 
them and subsequently intermingling with them, thereby making a wide 
breach in their previous uninterrupted chain running from south to 
north. In the south the Kalmucks, Kirghiz, Tcheremis and other tribes 
in the north, Finns in Finland, the Estonians (who up to the present 
time populate Estonia and the northern half of Livonia), the Lives 
(who held the southern part of Livonia) and the Coures (inhabiting 
Courland) were not slavonized. But the Lives and the Coures fell a 
prey to the Letts, who together with the Lithuanians, pushed forward 
from the south and occupied (he territory which afterwards formed the 
principality of Lithuania, Courland, and the southern part of Livonia. 
The last descendants of the Lives could some fifty years ago still be 
found in the west of Livland, and of the Coures in the west of Cour- 
land, but both tribes must nowadays be considered as allmost extinct. 
The reason why the Letts fought their way towards the Baltic shores 
was the necessity for having an outlet to the sea. 

In the twelfth century, German adventure brought about a new 
change in the fate of. the Baltic shores, by sending colonists from the 
north of Germany, chiefly from Bremen, Liibeck, Hamburg, Hanover 

and Westphalia, the abode cf the great tribe of hardy Saxons, who gave 
Charlemagne so much trouble in subjugating and christianising them. 

In 1201 Riga was founded by Bishop Albrecht. Just as the Saxons 
had themselves been converted to Christianity by fire and sword, so 
they turned the same methods prevalent in that time, upon the Letts, 
and Ests. The Pope of Rome gave them his blessing and under his 
auspices the Holy Livonian Order of the Brother-Sword-Bearers was 
formed with a view to stamping out paganism in the Baltic lands. These 
fighting monks cannot be regarded as Conquistadores, as they were 
imbued with the high religious ideas of that time. They had to give a 
triple oath of life-long obedience to their superiors, and swear to poverty 
and chastity. In their fortresses and castles they lived an austere life 
of prayer, and waged battle whenever they were called upon to fight. 
It was a hard task to convert the Baltic pagans, and in the fifteenth cen- 
tury crusades were preached in northern Germany under the auspices 
of Rome for the Christianising of the Baltic shores. These efforts helped 
the Order of the Livonian Sword-Brothers to foster emigration from 
Germany and to become a powerful State, which, however, had to de- 
fend itself against insurrections and the growing weight of Moscovia, 
Poland and Sweden. The Livonian Order of the Brother - Sword- 
carers, under the leadership of the Herrmeister Walter von 
Plettenberg, inflicted many a defeat upon the Moscovians, but Ivan the 
Terrible succeeded in devastating and subjugating the land. The State 
of the Livonian Order was hard pressed on three sides by the Mosco- 
vians, Poles and the Swedes until in 1561, the last Herrmeister Gott- 
hard Kettler had to surrender the Order, albeit, securing for himself 
Courland as Temporal Dukedom, suzerain to the Crown of Poland. 
The Dukedom was held throughout the Kettler and later, the Biron 

The Livonian Order as already stated ceased to exist in 1561. Livonia 
at first became a Polish province, thence, after a series of fierce wars 
between Poland and Sweden it passed into the hands of the latter; 
and subsequently was lost to Russia by Charles XII in the XVIII cen- 
tury, after his disasterous campaign against Peter the Great, by the 
Peace of Nystadt in 1721. Later, in 1795, after the third partition of 
Poland, which, as already mentioned, held suzerainty over the Duke of 
Courland, the Duke had to abdicate, and the Diet of the Nobles peti- 
tioned the Empress Catherine to incorporate the province into Russia. 
From these incessant wars between three great Powers surrounding the 
ancient State of the Livonian Order, it appears that each considered its 
possession as a condition sine qua non for further development, espe- 
cially the Moscovian Tzars, and Peter the Great, who, finding it impe- 
rative to ,,open a window towards the west of Europe" deemed it 
necessary to possess that territory for the further development of the 
State, as the geographical position of these provinces is such that their 
position as an outlet to the sea, or as an essential prolongation of the 
coast-line, was indispensable to the growth of a first class Power in 
the north. 

During the progress of the last Great War, the Baltic Provinces 
were occupied by Germany, but after her defeat, and the Armistice, 

dermany had to withdraw her army from Russia, ami the Baltic Pro 
vinees thus remained unprotected. Thereupon a Baltic Militia \\.is 
formed composed of Russians, men of Baltic Teutonic descent. Letts 
and lists, the attacking Bolshevik forces being also made up of Russians. 
Letts and lists. It is a hopeful sign tor the future that different racis 
and different classes of the Baltic inhabitants had to unite in common 
defence of their homes against the Bolsheviks. In listonia they fought 
with better success than in Livonia and Courland. The task of defen- 
ding these two lastnamed provinces against the onrushing Bolsheviks 
was from the beginning doomed to failure, owing to the fact that the 
Lettish battalions of Lenin and Trotsky had carried on a very active 
propaganda in the provinces through their agents. Moreover, the Baltic 
proletariat of the towns and a certain number of the peasantry had 
string Bolshevik leanings. An open rebellion of battalions composed 
entirely of Letts ensued, declaring themselves for the Bolsheviks. It was 
at this critical juncture that the British Fleet, which was at anchor 
before Riga, came to the rescue of the Baltic Militia on December 18th 
1918. The mutinous Lettish battalions were surrounded, and since they 
would not surrender, their barracks were bombarded by the British 
Meet until they capitulated. In order to further assist the Militia, the 
linglish Commander organised a patrol of military police in Riga, while 
the Militia advanced to meet the Bolsheviks. On January 1st 1919, a 
battle was fought in which, after severe fighting, the Militia was forced 
to retreat before the enemy. This brought Riga into imminent danger, 
and when on January 2nd it became known that the British Fleet would 
no longer grant assistance, but was under orders to sail from port, it 
was clear that Riga could no longer be held. By this time a great part 
of the population began a precipitous exodus. Families of women and 
children swept along the road on foot or on sledges in the greatest dis- 
order, carrying with them all the property they could save. The rigours 
of the winter weather added to the horror of these refugees flying in 
terror from the Bolsheviks hard on their heels. Riga, Mitau, Dorpat 
and other towns became the scene of untold outrages and wholesale 

But the Baltic Militia, viz. the Baits, Letts and Estonians strongly 
supported by german volunteer forces succeeded in finally driving out 
the Bolsheviks, and then the Letts and Estonians, availing themselves 
of self-determination, which had been proclaimed as a fundamental 
principle of International Law at the Treaty of Versailles, were able to 
declare themselves as independent States. Latvia included the former 
province of Courland, the northern part of the province of Vitebsk, and 
the southern part of the province of Livonia; and Eesti consisted of the 
northern part of Livonia and the province of Estonia. As indepedent 
States they have been recognised by the European Powers and admitted 
to full membership of the League of Nations. 

An episode in the military operations in Latvia, which merits special 
mention, is the expedition of the so-called Western Volunteer army 
under Bermont which was considered by the Letts as a treacherous 
attack against them. The army under Colonel Bermont was composed 
of Russians and Germans, (not Baits), numbering 50000 men, was 

intended to proceed by Bologoje to Lithuania to fight the Bolsheviks, 
and had the approval of the English representative in Latvia, Colonel 
March. As a matter of fact, the relations of this army to the Lettish 
and Lithuanian governments, were at the beginning quite satisfactory, 
as the territory of these two States was used only for the mustering of 
the troops, and the public administration of these governments was 
not interfered with in any way. 

Bermont's forces were part of the north-western anti-Bolshevik 
front under the leadership of General Yudenitch, who appointed Ber- 
mont to the command of the so called western army. On the 16th Octo- 
ber 1919 all was ready for the march on Bologoje, when Bermont 
unexpectedly received the order from General Judenitch to embark at 
Libau for Reval and to march from thence to Narva. Bermont did not 
obey this order, and instead planned to march on foot through Latvia. 
To this effect, he asked the Lettish government by wire for permission 
to pass through Lettish territory. The answer was given in the form of an 
attack on Bermont's forces at Olay, and thus began the war-like opera- 
tions between the Lettish Republic and Bermont's forces, which ended 
in the discomforture of the latter. Had the Letts not opposed Bermont, 
he would have been able to join Yudenitch's army, and Petrograd would 
have been taken from the Bolsheviks. 

Between the Letts and Estonians on the one side and the Baits on 
the other there are political differences of an historic nature which need 
to be cleared up. It is said that the Germans did the Letts a great 
wrong when they occupied the country at the end of the twelfth cen- 
tury. This is not, however, corroborated by history. When the merchant 
adventurers from Liibeck and Bremen, found their way to the mouth 
of the Diina and were followed afterwards by the conquering monk- 
knights, they found the Letts and Ests at a low stage of culture, and 
there can be no doubt that, by introducing order and founding a State 
with proper administration, the new-comers raised the natives economi- 
cally, morally and religiously*). In the first centuries of German occu- 
pation, serfdom did not exist. It only developed later on as an economic 
necessity when agricultural economic units were formed. Throughout 
the Middle Ages, in order to secure agricultural labour, the peasant was 
robbed of free movement and was bound to the land, glebae adscriptus. 
But the relation between the Lord of the manor and the serf was 
purely patriarchal. E. Seraphim in his history of Estonia, Livonia and 
Courland, gives the following account. ,,He who calmly and justh 
weighs the problem, will realise that during the Middle Ages the rela- 
tion of the Germanic-Baits to the natives bears no special trace of 
hardness. On the contrary, it corresponds entirely to the development 
which the peasant population in Germany underwent, and which led, 
little by little, to the introduction of serfdom. It may be conceded 

*) 1 take this opportunity of recommending the pamphlets of Oskar 
Bernmann "Die Agrarfrage in Estland" (Puttkammer & Miihlbrecht) and "The 
Esthonian republic and Private Property" by Ernest Fromme (Baltischer Verlag 
und Ostbuchhandlung G. m. b. H.) ,,The Baits in the History of Esthonia" by Robert 
Baltenius (Baltischer Verlag und Ostbuchhandlung G. m. b. H. Berlin) for trustworthy 
information about the agricultural question in Estland. 

that the racial difference between the rulers and the ruled made this 
position more oppressive to the latter, but this cannot be regarded as 
a slur upon the former. Moreover, it cannot be denied that those 
responsible for and conducting the affairs of the country, were always 
alive to the needs of the peasant population." It should also be borne 
in mind that in judging the past of the Baltic lands, it is not fair to 
apply modern moral standards to bygone centuries. It is really difficult 
to see how things could have developed otherwise judging by the 
standards of that time. European civilisation and culture and the 
Christian religion were in the Middle Ages implanted all over the world 
by more or less forcible methods. To speak of special wrongs having 
been perpetrated upon the native inhabitants of the Balticum, is simply 
measuring a time of legalised violence by modern standards of legalised 
freedom, evidently, a fundamental logical error. 

Until some fifty years ago, the Baltic burghers and nobility lived 
in close and amicable relationship with the Lettish and Estonian people ' 
of the town and country districts. The former patriarchal state of affairs 
had, of course, to give way to more democratic political and social con- 
structions and the ruling gentry endeavoured to bring this about. While 
serfdom was abolished in Russia proper as late as 1861, Estonia, Livonia, 
and Courland liberated their peasants in 1816, 1817 and 1819 - - viz., 
nearly half a century earlier. The manner in which the peasantry was 
liberated in the Baltic Provinces differs greatly from the methods adop- 
ted in Russia proper. Guided by the Utopian idea of providing all the 
peasants with land, the Russian government foisted upon them the com- 
munistic idea of the common ownership of land. A certain part of the 
property was expropriated from the landowners, and a price for it was 
paid from the States Exchequer. The land thus acquired was handed 
over to the villages under the stipulation that each village en bloc 
should repay the State by yearly instalments until the sum total origi- 
nally paid to the landowners should be redeemed. 

In the Baltic Provinces, Estonia, Livonia and Courland, as 
no financial facilities could be expected at that time from a 
government which had not yet recognised such a measure, the 
liberation of the peasants had to be brought about in a^less ambitious; 
way, though more practical and beneficial. Each estate was divided up 
into lots; there were those that were given over to the peasants and 
those that were retained by the original land-owners. The peasants" 
land was at first leased to individual farmers among the peasants them- 
selves, and afterwards sold to them as freehold by the help of local 
Societies of Credit founded by the gentry for this special purpose. 
Altogether the transition was carried out much more gradually; the 
landowners did not receive the price for the sale of their land in a lump 
sum, and individual property was introduced among the peasants --a 
form of ownership which, even from an agricultural point of view, proved 
superior to that of the common ownership in Russia. Of course it 
was not every peasant who could become a freeholder, but only those 
who through their own capability and industry were able to buy land 1 
and maintain themselves upon it. Others entered the various trades, 
becoming workmen, hiring themselves out to peasant or gentry land- 


owners. This mode of procedure secured to the provinces a high degree 
of efficiency in the culture of the land and an all-round prosperity. The 
liberation of the peasantry in the Baltic Provinces has, therefore, borne 
much better results than in the rest of Russia, as nas already been 
stated; in neither case was the land given to the peasants as a free gift, 
they had to pay for it, the difference consisting only in the manner of 
payment. In the Baltic Provinces only those paid for it who acquired 
it as a personal free property, while in the rest of Russia, the whole 
peasantry had to pay for it. 

It was a further advantage of the Baltic Provinces that the land- 
owners administered the estates themselves, living on the land, whereas 
in Russia proper, many of the nobility abandoned their landed property 
to the use of the peasants, reveiving in exchange an annual royalty, the 

But what about agrarian murders and the spirit of revolt which 
made itself felt in the Baltic lands long before the Revolution? The 
local social constitution was certainly out-of-date, but all efforts made 
by the nobility and bourgeoisie towards local reforms, in a liberal sense, 
were systematically thwarted by the central government. During the 
last fifty years the Diets of the three provinces submitted to the Impe- 
rial government a series of projects of progressive reform in order to 
bring the Letts and Ests into line in equality of rights with the Baits, 
themselves. But, all these projects found an early grave in the archives 
of the Government, since it was deemed expedient by the Russian 
Bureaucracy to keep open the grievances of the Letts and Ests as a 
constant irritant against the Baits. Not content with this insidious 
policy of playing one part of the population against the other, the 
Russian Government endeavoured to instigate the Lettish and Estonian 
peasants against their land-lords, by infecting the schools with extreme 
socialistic propaganda, and by disorganising the whole economic and 
social fabric of the country. The bureaucracy sowed the storm and 
reaped the whirlwind! It was in 1905 that the Russian socialistic' revo- 
lution overthrew also in the Baltic provinces the Russian governing 
power for the time being, and in 1917, that a Lettish Bolshevik regiment 
took a prominent part in establishing the Bolshevik regime in Petrograd. 

The present crisis which has been precipitated on the Baits, has a 
two-fold root, one of which is related to the European cultural evo- 
lution, and the other to circumstances peculiar to Baltic life. 

European culture is at present, in a transition stage, which is chiefly 
brought about by the ascendency of the manual labourer, the peasant 
and the proletarian. This process has been gathering strength from 
strike to strike, and revolution to revolution of the lower strata of the 
population which, favoured by the modern principle of personal free- 
dom, aims more and more at levelling down the community to one 
position in life. 

As long as the Constitution dividing the population into separate 
classes, existed, and the bidding for equality was limited, cultural evo- 
lution was not very apparent in public life, but when the barriers sepa- 
rating the classes had been done away with, in favour of a new social 
equality - - which found its apotheosis in universal suffrage - before 

the simple, uneducated man of the people, arose a new Fata Morgana 
of Equality, which changed his former contentedness into a delirium of 
envy and ambition. He regarded his services henceforth exclusively 
from the point of view of supply and demand. There was a constant 
demand for his work as no agricultural or industrial production is pos- 
sible without the labourer. He therefore made his supply of work con- 
ditional on higher and higher demands for pay, in order to procure for 
himself a better financial and social position, as he was conscious of his 
own power in regard to the numerical superiority of his class, in com- 
parison with the educated class, and universal suffrage gave him the 
opportunity to take advantage of it. 

The process of levelling the different classes of society in their mode 
of life which is now going on in Europe, is nowhere more noticeable 
than among the Baits, who almost throughout belong to the educate* 1 
classes, while the Letts and Estonians fill the ranks of the peasants, 
manual workers and proletarians, and as the difference of class here, 
coincides with the difference of race more or less -- the socialistic 
attack was the more vigorous, being supported by nationalistic aspira- 
tions. The Bait appeared in the eyes of the Letts and Estonians as an 
adversary in a double sense as an educated man and also as not be- 
longing to the Lettish or Estonian race. 

The Letts and Estonians were caught by the nationalistic tendency 
of the age, which grew up amongst them stronger and stronger in oppo- 
sition to the Slavophil policy of russification. Apart from the fact that 
for an Empire constituted of such heterogeneous elements as Russia, a 
forceful russification was dangerous, and a contradiction in terms, the 
Great Russians were in Russia in the minority (48 %) in comparison 
with the total number of the rest of the population; force produces 
opposition, attack -- resistance, proscription of ideal values, such as 
racial individuality or religious conviction, enhances fidelity to personal 
individuality and faith. The Letts and Estonians became more and 
more nationalistic as they were subjected to a system of ruthless russi- 
fication, and finally, when by the Russian revolution and the favour ot 
the Entente Powers, they were given the possibility of separating from 
Russia, the consciousness of their racial individuality produced the desire 
for complete political independence. They took advantage of the nationa- 
listic formula of self-determination and attempted to bring into effect 
the principle proclaimed by Bluntchli, by which humanity must chr\ - 
stalise into as many States as there are racial individualities: ,,Each 
racial individuality a State, and each State a racial individuality". 

Thus, when the inauguration of Latvia and Eesti took place, the 
Baits found themselves in the position of an alien element in their own 
country. They were in the minoritiy, their vote could not carry, and 
they were only able to take an indirect share in the foundation of these 
States on racial lines, simply because they were not Letts and Ests. 
At the same time, from masters they became servants, from superiors 
they were relegated to underlings, from rulers they became ruled, bound 
hand and foot to the majority. 

The change was so sudden that it was deeply felt, more so as it 
was carried out in rather a brutal way, and an orgy of licence by people 



who, for centuries, with few exceptions, had been kept at a level with 
the lower classes, broke out unrestrainedly. But it should not be 
forgotten that the Baits were an essential factor in bringing about 
Lettish and Estonian self-determination, having assisted these races to 
retain their national individuality. The Letts and Estonians have, 
therefore, at the moment of their political self-determination, every 
reason to consider the Baits, not as their enemies, but as their friends, 
to whom they owe their very national existence from being submerged. 
There is no reason to anticipate the return of the old conditions 
of life in the Baltic lands; the Baits have, therefore, once and for all 
to reckon with the fact that a new era has arisen in the municipal and 
social life of Europe, and that their position in such racial States as 
Latvia and Eesti, must necessarily be different from that of the old 
Constitution. No illusions about that should be entertained. In pure- 
ly democratic States, equality before the law is the chief pillar on which 
all conditions rest, therefore the Baits cannot demand anything more, 
but also nothing less, than to be on an equal footing with the Letts 
and Ests in all matters pertaining to public life. They can coalesce no 
longer in classes, but in political parties, and thus have the full ad- 
vantage of acting according to their own poltical persuasion. In this 
way will they build up a faith in themselves and establish the justness of 
their claim to be treated as native co-citizens in Latvia and Eesti. 

Generally speaking, minorities are more self-conscious of their in- 
dividuality than the majorities, who, knowing their power, easily 
stagnate in their aims and ambitions. The poet says: - - ,,Only he 
merits freedom in life who wins them every day". In the dynamic 
of human society, those on a lower strata continually struggle for the 
upward trend, these to whom Fate brings difficulties and hardships 
are invigorated all the more by their very struggle for life. The Baltic 
racial minorities will not be crushed out of existence. The Christian 
religion states that those who are called to bear, are also given the 
strength to endure. 

Latvia and Eesti have all the conditions for prosperity at their 
disposal, provided they desist from the oppression, persecution and 
pauperisation of their minorities. Not enmity and strife, but good-will 
and peace provide the pledge for welfare and permanent success. Hat- 
red damages not only others but oneself. To live at peace with one's 
neighbours and co-citizens, does not prejudice anyone. 

What then is the real reason that the minorities in Latvia and Eesti, 
and especially the Baits, are looked upon with suspicion and hostility? 
Certainly not because the Letts and Estonians doubt their love for 
their homeland or because they are considered as useless drones! No, 
it is well known that the Baits desire to be useful to their country, and 
judging from a great number of them who have found a livelihood in 
countries even where there is a large supply of educated men, there 
is no doubt that they are a constructive element in any State. That 
which makes the minorities objectionable to the Letts and Estonians, 
is simply because they are not of the same racial stock. Now, 
that the Letts and Estonians in their newly created States are themsel- 
ves the rulers, they should apply to their own racial minorities the 


same principles they would have appreciated when they were under 
foreign domination. 

The Letts and Estonians are also very hard in their judgment ot 
the socalled ..emigrants" who, in the majority of cases, are not emi- 
grants in the strict sense of the word. Indeed, these ..emigrants" are 
chiefly composed of people who against their will, left the home-country, 
or those, who for the time being, have managed to find a living abroad, 
or, those who were driven out of their homes by Lettish and Estonian 
nationalism and have lost the possibility of earning a livelihood in the 
Baltic lands finally, those who fled before Bolshevism and who are 
now refused the permission to return home. All these people will be 
glad to return to their country as soon as the political situation there 
allows them to do so. At present, in Latvia and Eesti self-determina- 
tion has produced an extreme self-assertion followed by ruthless into- 
lerance. As if, because of self-determination, each State should consist 
of only one race! 

Chapter II. 

The Baltic Minorities' Rights. 
Their Relation to Municipal and International Law. 

Lecture delivered at the Grotius Society in London, November 1921. 


The civilised world is gravitating towards two opposite poles: 
Internationalism and Nationalism. Internationalism, which conceives of 
humanity as a whole, irrespective of differences of race, ethics and 
religion- and Nationalism, which is an appreciation of the affinity ot 
racial origin, moral conception or religious persuation, are indeed, diver- 
gent, lying in different planes and cannot, therefore,, be compared and 
measured one against the other. But, both these political forces are at 
the present time extremely active in bringing about fundamental 
changes in the internal and external affairs of the civilised world. Reli- 
gious so-called ,,black" Internationalism, extols the uniformity of faith 
above all other vital interests, and revolutionary, or ,,red" Internatio- 
nalism, assuming an even more pugnacious attitude, demands universal 
class-warfare, in an endeavour to stamp out all inequality, while Na- 
tionalism indulges in racial exclusivences and intolerance. By their 
excesses both movements engender an atmosphere of strife and uni- 
versal antagonism which, fanned by the fatal economic consequences of 
the war, is kindling the so-called Christian world into a blaze of hatred 
- a hell of deadly enmity! 

But, in this cataclysm of varying political opinions, amid the 
clamour of warfare, in the turmoil of revolutions, if humanity is not 
to be submerged in an apocalytical upheaval, it must strike bed-rock 
on which to lay the foundations of future civilisation, upon which it 
can construct its Commonwealth. Let governments, State constitution, 


religior and ethics be subject to grave changes, the natural conditions 
of human existence will always be the same, as long as human life 
shall run. The procreation of humanity rests on "the maintenance ot 
the family, which, together with other families related to each other, 
form an ethnographic unity, aggrandised by the coalescence of racial 
elements of the same origin, forming the tribe, the population of a 
given district, and finally, the nation. The natural course, of national 
revolution has, in the past, often been diverted aside by conquerors in 
their lust for power, but, in spite of Imperialism, racial affinity vindi- 
cates its natural birth-right as the chief constructive- principle and 
mainstay of the State. Nowadays, all races claim the right of existence 
by themselves and for themselves, and this right has been acknowledged 
by the common conscience of man. 

Self-determination has also been butressed by a limitation of the 
sovereignly of the State. In early times, the individual was supposed 
to be neither more nor less than a mere particle of the community, as 
exemplified by the inexorable discipline enforced by the Spartan State. 
But the old idea of the State as the supreme arbiter of right or wrong, 
the one and only creator of public and private law, could not be main- 
tained in the face of the requirements of an International community 
and the rigths of the single individual. Intervention or non - inter- 
vention, -- no civilised State can any longer consider itself an entirely 
self-contained, and consequently, independent entity. Even between 
States, which only yesterday were at enemity with each other, there 
exists a community of interests, which if ignored, brings about a 
displacement of the economic balance of the world. While unemploy- 
ment occasions to the Allies and the United States losses which are 
much greater than any reparations which could be wrung from Germany, 
the Germans, owing to the increase in the cost of raw products from 
abroad, the fabulous rise in the price of commodities - - as a direct 
result from the depreciation of the German currency - - are also no 
better off. There is something wrong in the state of the world, since 
the economic and financial solidarity of the nations have been so put 
out of gear by chauvinism and international hatred. The tragedy of 
the world war, as affecting the whole organism of civilised mankind, 
has made it clear to the vanquished as well as to the victors, that both 
are parts of one and the same world-wide economic, financial and poli- 
tical Commonwealth, just as disease afflicting one member of the human 
body necessarily affects the whole system. 

No State is any longer permitted to disregard the main ethical prin- 
ciples on which the civilised world is based and which are anchored in 
the moral conscience of mankind. For instance, no nation is at liberty 
to introduce slavery, wholesale slaugther of innocent beings, robbery, 
immorality, and so forth. The ten commandments have a supernatio- 
nal authority. This is the reason that the Russian Soviet Republic is 
still not considered as a legitimate power, although it has succeeded in 
holding its own, simply because it stands outside the pale of civilisation 
in its practise of rapine, murder, intimidation and bad faith. Sny Shite 
which adopts similar methods, in toto or in part, endangers its position 
as member of the civilised Commonwealth. 


Self-determination, one of the fourteen points of Mr. Wilson, the 
late President of the United Mates, was adopted by the Peace Con- 
ference at Versailles. It had already ^eca acknowledged by Napoleon III 
- .vho threw this alluring formula ino the seething cauldron of varying 
nationalities and, in the course of the nineteenth century led to the 
creation of a series of new States on a racial basis, such as Germany, 
Italy, Greece. But at the Peace Conference of Versailles, this principle 
received a new sanctification by the fact that the old theory of power 
being the sole and necessary condition for the creation of a State, was 
supersecded by the conception of the ..Contract Social", namely, the 
will and the consent of the population living on the State's territory. 
Self determination is thus firmly anchored ; n the common racial ideal 
as well as in the new foundation of municipal law. But, to be sure, 
it must find its limits in the conditions of existence and the vital 
interests of neighbouring States, just as personal freedom is limited by 
the right to freedom of others who are enjoying equal privileges. 

It is therefore self-evident that a community cannot be entitled to 
self-determination at the expense of another state. If it be so, self- 
determination, internationally, must necessarily lead to conflicting 
interests, which in the last instance, can only be solved by arbitration 
or war. The self-determination of the Baltic Borderlands for indepen- 
dence will have td be in consonance with the interests of a Russia 
capable of defending her vital interests, but, in the meantime, the poli- 
tical independence of these countries, may have a long run, as the yoke 
of the Soviets, which is now incapacitating Russia, may still last for 
some years to come. 

Internally, self-determination means an arrangment between the 
majority which wields the power and the minority which has to submit, 
without, however, losing their right to exist individually. Here the 
problem becomes rather complex, as the habitat of the different races 
forming the State, is often not confined within strictly determined 
areas, but comprises territories where an intermingling of races has 
taken place throughout the course of time. Thus the Jews in the 
Diaspora, and even in Palestine form a heterogeneous minority; Ar- 
menia, Grusia and Aserbeidjan are interwoven with different tribes, 
such as the Tartars, Turks and Kurds, Georgians and many Caucasian 
tribes; Home Rule in Ireland is complicated on account of the Pro- 
testants in Ulster; Finland has to deal with her Aryan-Swedish stock 
as well as with the Finnish-Mongolic population; Alsace-Lorraine has 
to cope with her German speaking elements in juxtaposition to the 
French; Yugo-Slavia contains Italians within her fold besides her Slavs; 
Czecho-Slovakia and Poland have several millions of Germans; in addi- 
tion to the Ugro- Altaic stock living in Hungary, there are people of 
Teutonic, Slavonic, and Roumanian extraction; Lithuania is interspersed 
with Poles and Russians; Eesti and Latvia are the homeland of not 
only Ests and Letts, but also of the Balto-Saxons, who, came some 
seven hundred years ago to the Baltic shores*) colonised, Christiansed 
and civilised the country uplifting it to a high level of culture and 
~~*) Viue Chapter I. 


In most States who have constituted their own independene on the 
principle of self-determination, the much vaunted liberation from racial 
tyranny has only shifted the burden of racial oppression from the 
shoulders of one race to those of another. The case of Tzecho- Slovakia 
is especially instructive in that the Tzechs, who are the ruling people 
represent only 46 % of the whole population, yet they impose a harsh 
rule on the other races in the State, consisting of Germans --26 %; 
Hungarians, Ruthenians, Poles 14 %; and Slovaks 14 %. 

In practise, self-determination, has been a principle of racial free- 
dom only for people who are able to command the majority of votes 
and thus deciding the momentous question. ,,Who shall be on top? 
Who shall be the hammer who the anvil," In consequence self-deter- 
mination had to be supplemented by another principle designed to 
become a corrective, so to say, rounding off its edges and mitigating 
the evil of its uncompromising application. It was found necessary to 
restrict the power of the majorities in their unlimited constitutional 
authority, exercised over aH the population residing within the terri- 
tory of the State. The self-determination of minorities established a 
new stage of development of the positive law of nations. 

It is clear, however, that the rights of minorities must, of their 
very essence and conception, differ from the rights of majorities. In 
the latter case, they imply the acknowledged faculty of independent 
existence as a State; in the former, a mere limitation of territorial sove- 
reignity /or the benefit of racial minorities. According to democratic 
parliamentary rule, and on the basis of universal suffrage, the majority 
of votes decides the whole legislation and order of State administration, 
the majority presides over the vital public interests of the community, 
and in this respect, any interference on the part of minorities must be 
excluded, on principle. Thus, the Baltic minorities do not in the least 
question the rights of Latvia and Eesti's parliamentary majority, they 
have the welfare and prosperty of their native land no less at heart than 
the majority. They are even convinced that, in respect to themselves, 
the carrying out of the principle of racial self-determination of minorities 
will actually strengthen and stabilise the State. 

But self-determination should not degenerate into tribalism viz., 
the assumption that the State should consist throughout of one homo- 
geneous racial block. No State in the world exists, in which all its 
citizens belong to one and the same race; the economic, financial and 
politic inter-dependence of all civilised nations, the vast development ot 
the ways of communication by road, water and air, the historic process 
of migration, conquest, or peaceful penetration, make it a sheer impos- 
sibility for any single State to isolate itself by restricting within its 
fold only one distinct race. The ideology of tribalism is, therefore, 

In Latvia, however, foreigners and persons belonging to racial 
minorities are denounced as parasites; those whose ancestors have lived 
in Latvia less than two or three generations are subject to a special 
tax. The nationalistic press proclaims that ,,only Letts can be considered 
as citizens". Jews are looked upon as citizens of Palestine, Russians of 
Soviet-Russia, Germans of Germany and the like. Agitation against 


people of alien extraction is also directed against the Exchange Com- 
mittee and the Exchange bank of Riga. It is said that the exchange 
should be exclusively in the hands of ,,the reigning people". Thus, 
government and press in Latvia and Eesti emulate each other in pro- 
moting the most uncompromising tribalism, reinforced by Socialism, 
anti-democratic in its practical application, inimical to personal freedom, 
reactionary in its intolerance. The argument that they, the Letts and 
Ests, were the first arrivals in the country and therefore merit a privi- 
leged position in comparison with the alien races of the minorities, is 
not consistent with the principle of equality. Tribalism, in such a garb, 
bears the stamp of an exclusiveness and intolerance which was 
characteristic of the Boors towards the Africanders, and finally brought 
the Transvaal Republic to its downfall. Even the great Russian Empire 
was over-thrown, partly because it mismanaged and tyrannised its 
racial and religious minorities: Russia will only be resurrected in power 
again, when personal liberty and racial and religious tolerance are conce- 
ded as a conditio sine qua non of its constitution. According to the 
principles of modern municipal law, citizenship is acquired by birth or 
by the naturalisation of each individual, the history of forebears, cen- 
turies old, not being taken into consideration. Again a State which de 
facto, has a mixed population of different races cannot be allowed to 
expulse people from their territory, who had acquired their legal domi- 
cile in the country before the State came into existence. Yet such a 
breach of the law of nations has actually occured in Latvia where scores 
of people have been deprived of their estates and expelled from the 
country although they had acquired there their legal domicile before 
Latvia had been constituted an independent State, for the simple reason 
that they did not belong to the Lettish race. These people had come 
from the interior of Russia. 

It is a postulate of reason to conform to the ideas of right of those 
whose support is solicited. Since England has taken so active a part 
in founding the Republics of Latvia and Eesti and is, up to the present, 
ready to protect these States, Latvia and Eesti have every inducement 
not to imperil this support by assuming an anti-democratic tribalism, 
which is incomprehensible and offensive to the English. If the Lettish 
and Estonian peoples assume a privileged attitude on the strength of the 
fact that they came to the Baltic lands before the Baltic minorities, by 
the same process of argument, the Gaelic natives of the British Isles 
should demand precedence of the Anglo-Saxons and Normans. Likewise, 
the American Red Indians might set themselves up to be the free-men 
of the United States and thereby claim special concessions. Can the 
Basques and Celtic-Gauls aspire to priority and exceptional advantages 
of position, on the ground that they were inhabitants of French terri- 
tory long before the Franks came to the country and founded France? 

In Public law as well as in Common law, there is the title of acqui- 
sition by specification. As in Great Britain, America and France, so in 
the Baltic countries, a specification" has, de facto, taken place, for 
virgin forests have been cleared, towns founded, ways of communication 
opened up, knowledge and culture spread and the Christian religion 
introduced - - in a word, civilisation has converted pre-historic con- 



ditions of life into those of a prosperous community, thereby securing 
an new moral and physical status. From the point of view of Public 
and International law, there is not, therefore, sufficient support to the 
plea for special rights for the earlier inhabitants of the country. 

Moreover, in Public as well as in Private law, after the lapse of a 
certain number of years, claims lose their validity. All the European 
nations are intruders, for have they not all come from Asia, the Mother 
of nations? Who would on this score deny them the right to live in 
Europe? Humanity may be regarded as a section of ethnographic 
seams super-posed one upon the other. Nations are composed of peop- 
les which, as it were, are like ice-flakes lying in close proximity to each 
other, or over-lapping each other layer upon layer, brought about by 
the constant fluctuation and change of peoples through the march of 
time. The years have brought about a continual ebb and flow in the 
migration of the peoples. One might ask with propriety; ,,Are the Letts 
ready to recognise the few still remaining Lives as privileged persons 
on account of their priority in the land?" The principle of equity and 
justice does not permit measuring with two kinds of measures. ,,With 
what measure ye mete it shall be measured to you again". According 
to the parliamentary system, the government must always be prepared 
to be succeeded by the Opposition as soon as it loses the majority of 
votes. If ever in Latvia or Eesti the minority in a Coalition were called 
upon to form the Cabinet, would it be satisfactory to the Letts if they 
were treated in the same way as they are now treating their minorities? 
And, if ever it came to pass, that Russia were to reclaime her former 
provinces, would not the Letts and Ests, in the eyes of the civilised 
world, deserve greater consideration for their racial autonomy, if they 
in their turn, could shew that they themselves had granted autonomous 
rights to their minorities? 

The violent nationalistic, and at the same time Socialistic pro- 
gramme of the Lettish and Estonian governments, is a contradiction in 
terms. If, according to the Socialistic teaching, an onslaught be made 
against the Possessing Classes, there is no reason why the Lettish pos- 
sessing Classes should be spared; .on the other hand, if from a Natio- 
nalistic stand-point, the Letts should be favoured at the expense of the 
racial minorities, there is no reason to benefit and protect proletarians 
of non-Lettish extraction. 

Should Russia resuscitate, Latvia and Eesti would be called upon to 
square accounts with their former Lord and Master if possible, peace- 
fully. What Russians think of the matter may be gathered from diff e 
rent opinions expressed at National Russian Meetings. For instance, at 
the Russian Meeting for National Union, in Paris, in June 1921, one of 
the leading speakers, Mr. Semenoff, said, that the Border States would 
have to count with Russia bye and bye, for, in spite of the revolution, 
she had not gone under. He went on to say that Estonia, Lithuania and 
Latvia, together, cut off Russia from the Baltic sea, and that no less than 
one third of Russia's total export trade had to pass through these coun- 
tries. ,,Even admitting the principle of national self-determination", 
continued Mr. Semenoff, ,,it is understood by itself, that it must not be 
carried out at the expense of subjugating one's neighbours. Russia must, 


therefore, come to an agreement with the Border States, and without 
destroying their selfdetermination, Russia should be placed in a position 
which gives her freedom under all possible conditions." Likewise, the 
Russian Monarchist Congress at Reichenhall recognised that 
the Border States, enjoying a full , .autonomy in Home affairs", must be 
given the means of cultivating their own racial peculiarities. The Russian 
newspaper, edited in Paris, ,,Obstche Djelo" (The Common Cause) of 
the llth June 1921, expresses itself in favour of. an understanding with 
the Border States, ,,but", adds the paper, ,,what is to be done, if an 
agreement with these States is not reached? It is clear that then it 
must come to a fight. Cut off from her Baltic ice-free ports by the 
Border States, Russia will not be able to exist as a great Power, more 
particularly so, as these States will hardly be in a position to keep their 
independence, and will unsuspectingly and involuntarily come under the 
influence of one of the great Powers whose interests happen to be oppo- 
sed to those of Russia." Since the admission of Eesti and Latvia to the 
League of Nations, the language of the White Russian" press has be- 
come even more threatening, and points to the inevitableness of war to 
regain the lost Baltic Provinces. Russian opinion is, therefore, quite 
clear on this point. It is true that Soviet-Russia has acquiesced to the 
separation of Latvia and Eesti but, the number of Communists is no 
more than 700000 out of a total population in Russia of 125000000, 
and no representative Constituent Assembly has ever expressed its 
sanction of this self-determination. 

Latvia and Eesti will have to undergo a test with the Russian Giant 
on the matter of their independence, which will be the easier to maintain 
when they can count upon sympathy and assistance from abroad, and, 
in the first place, much will depend on England, who has undertaken to 
protect her important interests in the Baltic States and has been at 
pains to use Latvia as an out-post against Germany, as well as against 
Russia. It was of importance for England, for political and commercial 
reasons, to counteract German influence in the Balticum, and thereby 
to assure for herself a preponderating position in those lands. This was 
well within England's reach, for she had at her command a sufficiently 
powerful fleet to keep the Baltic sea-board permanently under her 
control. At the same time, England was storing up a weapon against 
Russia. The traditional Russophobe policy of England is, of old, directed 
towards weakening Russia as much 'as possible. Lloyd George has not 
hesitated to make a statement to that effect in the House. England 
is endeavouring by every manner of means to keep in touch with Latvia 
and Eesti. She has undertaken to protect Latvia's interests in places 
where Latvia has no consular or diplomatic representatives of her own; 
an English newspaper has been founded in Reval; in general Great 
Britain stands in intimate relationship with the Latvian and Estonian 

Likewise, France, Latvia and Eesti's second sponsor, may be of use 
to them in the future. France's policy in the Baltic Border-lands follows 
the same line of conduct as in Poland, where the principle object is to 
prevent direct intercourse between Germany and Russia, by placing 
buffer-states in their way. France does not care whether Russia's 



commercial relations with Central Europe are thus impeded, for French 
interests demand, first of all, a lasting political and economic weakening 
of Germany. For this reason, in case Russia were to try to remove the 
obstruction to free intercourse with Central Europe, France, most 
probably, would support Latvia. 

The Baltic States have, therefore, in England and France protectors, 
whose favours are worth retaining, and should not jeopardise the ad- 
vantages of the political situation and the safety of their future. For 
centuries, the Baltic countries have endeavoured to maintain their racial 
and cultural personality, and have been granted a certain degree of 
autonomy .by their Swedish, Polish and Russian conquerors. Now, 
thanks to favourable political circumstances, they have been able to 
declare themselves independent. But, surrounded by more powerful 
States, which at any given moment may, as in the past, try to incor- 
porate these valuable costal regions, Latvia and Eesti are bound to 
direct their policy chiefly towards the preservation of their own inde- 
pendence, or at least, by securing the position of Dominions with certain 
limitations as to their fiscal system and International policy. All that 
may obstruct and endanger this .aim must be discountenanced, all that 
is conducive to its fulfilment, must be favoured. That is also the reason 
why the Baltic minorities deserve to be treated with respect and proper 
consideration - - for the sake of safe-guarding the practical interests 
of the country. 

Latvia and Eesti must choose .between two opposite systems of 
State administration. Tribalism, is always short-sighted, and in the 
end, fatally turns to the disadvantage of the community. Diametrically 
opposite is England's example. Tribalism has never entered the soul 
of the English, and that is how they have fared so well. Their long 
historic past up to the present time, speaks of readiness to compromise 
and racial liberality. The structure of the gigantic Empire is held 
together by conciliation, mutual concessions for racial freedom and 
personal liberty. These then, are the two alternatives confronting 
Latvia and Eesti: tribalism and ruin, or racial tolerance and prosperity. 
Can there be any doubt which to choose? 

Gentlemen, would you like to be treated like the Balto-Saxons? 
Imagine, if the Gaelic-Highlanders, the Celts from Wales, Cornwalland 
Devon were to come down on you and expropriate your landed pro- 
perty, requisition three-quarters of London for the benefit of their tribe, 
and brand you as intruders and foreigners ordering you back to Ger- 
many, Denmark and France - - from whence you came - - since they, 
the ,,Celts, are the original native population of the British Isles! What 
would you say to such a proposition? Would you meekly submit? 
I venture to think not! You would surely stand up for your ideas of 
right, for the traditions of your valiant fore-fathers, who founded the 
kingdom and Empire for the priceless gifts of culture and civilisation. 
This is precisely what the Baltic minorities intend to do in this the hour 
of their trial. May I express the hope that your ,,cousins", the Balto- 
Saxons may have your sympathy and perhaps even your assistance . 
In Hugo Grotius' ,,De Jure Belli ac Pacis" Liber III, ,,Conclusio cum 
monitis ad fidem et pacem", you may find the incentive to do so." 


The lecture was followed by a discussion. The Chairman, Sir 
Alfred Hopkinson, spoke on two different points; he dwelt first of all, 
on the Russia of the future. . It was out of the question that, after 
over-coming the present crisis, Russia would not reclaim, either by 
federation or incorporation, her Baltic provinces and regain her two 
ice-free ports in the Baltic, Libau and Windau. It should be abun- 
dantly clear that Russia was bound to do so, in defence of her vital 
interests. Moreover, self-determination was a principle still subject 
to much criticism. It could not be unconditionally admitted, as no 
community could determine political independence for itself, without 
the consent of those parties interested and closely involved. 

In answer to Mr. Bewes, Baron Heyking said that the Letts were 
chiefly Lutherans. The colonisation of Latvia and Estonia might be 
compared with that of Eastern Prussia by the Teutonic Order, with 
this difference that in Eastern Prussia the Prussians disappeared, but 
in Latvia and Eesti the new comers allowed the latter to retain 
their racial individuality. The natives now say that no one should 
be a citizen except a Lett. That is not self-determination. It is true 
that anyone may be naturalised. But naturalisation is denied to many. 
It is also a fact that these countries had serfdom. But, although they 
had lost their independeence, serfdom was abolished in 1816, whereas 
in Russia it lasted until 1861. 

Mr. Henriques asked whether under the Treaty a recommendation 
might not be made by the League of Nations to confer equal rights. 

Baron Heyking explained that there was no right of appeal except 
through one of the three delegates of the State, or by a delegate of 
some other State. England has agreed to protect Latvian commercial 
interests. But the Minorities wanted their rights. A Commission had 
recently be^n appointed at Vienna by the Union of Associations to 
consider all questions of minorities and to report to the League. 

Master Jelf suggested that self-determination was not a part of 
International law. The other nations ought to help these minorities 
which possessed no rights as against States, and this should be done 
by way of counsel through diplomatic medium. We objected to a 
State of the British Empire going to the League with a complaint, 
i. e. Ireland. 

Mr. Henriques however, contended that if a State denied rights 
to certain of its subjects, such subjects must have a right to come to 
the League. 

Baron Heyking pointed out that self-determination had been recog- 
nised in treaties and therefore it came within International law. Latvia 
and Eesti were on the point of concluding a treaty with the League on 
these rights. The League had received an enormous number of com- 
plaints, but unless the delegates took them up, the minorities were 

Mr. Cole asked whether an old feud did not exist between the 
native populations of Latvia and Eesti and the Baits. The lecturer 
replied that the Letts and Ests thought that there was reason for ani- 
mosity on their side because of the ill-treatment they had received in 
times past. They had indeed passed through the unhappy stage of 


serfdom although it had never been practised in its worst form, nor 
out of malice but it was an usage in conformity with the ideas then 
prevailing over the whole of Europe. Since 1561, when the Baltic State 
lost its intependence and was taken over by Sweden, Poland, and 
later on, by Russia, the position of the serfs in the provinces was very 
similar to that of the peasant class in those States to which they 
belonged. The Christianising of the Letts was probably not a case of 
peaceful conversion, and the Crusaders who, at the bequest of the Pope, 
over-ran the country, behaved no better than the Crusaders fighting 
their way to the Holy Land. But this was only of historic interest. 
At the present time, the Baits only claimed equality with the Letts 
and Ests and were most willing to colaborate with them without any 
aspirations for precedence. They only prayed to be relieved of oppres- 
sion, expropriation and banishment. 

One of the members of the meeting said that he could corroborate 
what he had heard in the lecture, as he, personally, knew of a former 
land-owner in Latvia who, having lost all his means of existence, owing 
to the expropriation of his estate, was now reduced to a position of 
having to work as a manual labourer by repairing roads in Bavaria. 
The lecturer said that Socialism and Nationalism in Latvia and Eesti 
had been instrumental in bringing about the impoverishment of the 
upper strata of society. There was no objection to the uplift and rise 
of the masses as long as this was brought about in conformity with the 
ideas of equality, the safety of private property and the maintenance 
of personal freedom. But the mode of procedure of the Lettish and 
Estnish governments was to a certain extent influenced by Bolshevik 
ideas, which although they had proved disasterous in Russia, had a 
hold on Latvia and Eesti. 

Another gentleman suggested that the whole question might per- 
haps be looked upon as of mere local importance. 

To this, the lecturer replied that Europe did not produce sufficient 
food-stuffs to feed her population, and relied upon an enormous im- 
portation from abroad. It was therefore much to the interests ot 
Europe to secure food from those countries which grew corn. Latvia 
and Eesti were agricultural countries which, before the war, exported 
a large quantity of corn to the Western countries of Europe, but now 
they were obliged to import corn for themselves, and this was the 
result of the disintegration of agriculture by the so-called Agricultural 
Reform. Since Western Europe is involved, she cannot be unconcerned 
regarding the state of affairs existing in Latvia and Eesti. 

Chapter III. 

The Baltic Minorities' Rights detailed. 

Paper read at the Assembly of the International Law Association, 

at The Hague, September 1921. 

The very fact that Latvia and Eesti have been recognised de jure, 
by the Entente Powers, Germany ,and Austria, and many other states, 
and are admitted to full membership of the League of Nations, is in- 
deed proof that these States are looked upon as civilised, and further- 


more, their express desire for full rights of equality among other 
nations, is tantamount to a resolution to keep to the tenets of civili- 
sed rule. ..Noblesse oblige". It may therefore be taken as a foregone 
conclusion that these States, if sincere and loyal to their professed 
political standpoint, are bound to respect and carry into practice those 
fundamental principles which are acknowledged by democratic com- 
munities and belong to positive International law. They should there- 
fore enforce those minorities' rights enumerated in the treaties conclu- 
ded by the Allied Powers with Poland, Austria, Hungary, Roumania, 
Turkey, Yugo-Slavia, Czecho-Slovakia, Bulgaria, Greece and Armenia, 
which are applicable to all the racial minorities in the world, and for 
whom the League of Nations have assured fair treatment, which rights 
the Baltic Minorities likewise desire to enjoy, viz.: 

(1). A full amnesty to be granted to those natives of whatever 
racial origin or religious denomination they may be, who, for political 
reasons, have been deprived of their lawful civic rights. Those who 
sympathised with Bermont's ill-advised venture,*) had to fly abroad 
for their lives, thereupon, their, property was confiscated, and they 
were stigmatised, ,,political criminals". In somewhat similar circum- 
stances an amnesty was granted by the afore-mentioned Treaty with 
Turkey (Art. 144) by which the Ottoman government recognised the 
injustice of the law of 1915, and its additional treaties, concerning the 
abandoned properties, (Enval-i-Metrouke) and declared these decrees to 
be null and void, both with reference to the past and in the future. 
The Ottoman government likewise pledged itself to ,,make facilities 
for as far as possible -- persons of non-Turkish origin belonging to 
the Ottoman Empire, who had been forced into exil for fear of their 
lives, or being persecuted, since January 1st 1914, and to enable them 
to return to their homes and to re-establish their business. The Turkish 
government recognise that real or personal property belonging to such 
like persons must be restored to their rightful owners as soon as 
possible. The property must be returned free of any charge or tax, and 
without any indemnity whatsoever being made' for the benefit of the 
actual holders." Thus, a precedent of a case in point is established, 
which may serve to make clear the position of the owners in Eesti and 

(2). The reinstatement to the right of property of those who have 
been thus deprived, adequate compensation being given for any in- 
flicted loss by the Estonian and Latvian governments; and the in- 
violability of the right of ownership for individuals and ,,personnes 
morales", in so far as expropriation is not demanded by actual public 
necessity, real requirements for land for the agricultural classes being 
adequately satisfied. For all deprivation of property and expropriation 
meted out in accordance with public requirements, and inflicted loss 
caused by the Estonian and Latvian governments, a just and adequate 
compensation should be given. This would compare with similar 
provisions made by the Treaty with Turkey (Arts. 126: 128: 144: 281: 
287: 288); with Poland (Art. 3); with Austria (Arts. 78: 250: 259: 264>, 

*) Vide Chapter I. 


with Hungary (Art. 63); with Czecho-Slovakia (Art. 20); which, in the 
most unequivocable terms, affirm and proclaim the right of personal 
ownership, granting adequate compensation for any infringement 
thereof by the government in question. It is beyond any doubt that 
the Minorities' Treaties are based upon this principle, and Communism, 
syndicalism, or nationalisation of property are by no means counte- 
nanced. The nationalisation of landed property is, therefore, diametri- 
cally opposed to such Treaties, and must be definitely abandoned if 
Eesti and Latvia intend to subscribe to the Minorities' rights. Moreover, 
it is a self-evident fact that all members of the League of Nations, 
which recognise the right of private ownership as the foundation of 
their social and economic structure, are obliged to acknowledge the 
same principle. 

(3). The reinstatement of ,,Pious Foundations and other personnes 
morales" which have been wilfully suppressed. Analogous provisions 
have been made by treaties concluded with Greece (Art. 14); Yugo- 
slavia (Art. 10); Armenia (Art. 7); Austria (Art. 75). 

(4). Personal safety and liberty such as provided for by the trea- 
ties with Poland (Art. 2); Greece (Art. 2); Hungary (Art. 55); Roumania 
(Art. 2); Czecho-Slovakia (Art. 2); Yougo-Slavia (Art. 2); Turkey 
(Art. 141). 

(5). Equality of citizenship irrespective of racial origin or religious 
conviction. Appointment to State and Communal office to be made 
solely on personal merit and real qualifications, as provided for by the 
treaties concluded with Poland (Arts. 7 & 8); Bulgaria (Arts. 40: 51: 
53: & 56); Roumania (Art. 8); Czecho-Slovakia (Art. 7); Yougo-Slavia 
(Art. 7); Turkey (Art. 147). 

(6). Freedom of the press, of political opinion, conscience, meeting 
and association: political crimes to come under the competency of or- 
dinary law-courts, as provided for by treaties with Poland (Art. 7); 
Turkey (Art. 145); Austria (Art. 66); Bulgaria (Art. 53); Greece (Art. 7); 
Armenia (Art. 4); Hungary (Art. 58); Roumania (Art. 8); Czecho- 
slovakia (Art. 7); Yougo-Slavia (Art. 7). 

(7). Freedom of commerce and industry as provided for by the 
treaties concluded with Poland (Art. 7); Turkey (Arts. 145 & 281); 
Austria (Art. 66); Bulgaria (Art. 53); Greece (Art. 7); Armenia (Art. 4); 
Hungary (Art. 58); Roumania (Art. 8); Czecho-Slovakia (Art. 7); Yougo- 
Slavia (Art. 7). 

(8). Religious and scholastic autonomy and the right of maintaining 
racial and cultural individuality, as provided for by the treaties con- 
cluded with Czecho-Slovakia (Arts. 8 & 9); Roumania (Arts. 10 & 11); 
Yougo-Slavia (Arts. 8 & 9); Hungary (Arts. 55 & 59); Turkey (Arts. 
148 & 149); Bulgaria (Arts. 50: 54: & 55); Greece (Arts. 8: 9: 10: & 12); 
Armenia (Arts. 2: 5: & 7). 

(9). The right of changing allegiance without thereby incurring 
any penalty, adequate facilities being given for the transferring of pro- 
perty in case of option. Latvia and Eesti to recognise as Latvian or 
Estonian citizens - - as the case may be - - all persons who, at the 
moment of the proclamation of the independence of the Lettish and 


Estonian States, had their legal domicile on the territory of these States 
or were born on that territory as provided for by the treaties concluded 
with Poland (Arts. 3, 4 and 5), Austria (Arts. 78 to 82), Roumania 
(Arts. 3 and 5), Turkey (Arts. 124, 125 and 143).*) 

(10). Freedom to travel or reside within the territory of the State, 
or to leave and re-enter it at will, as stipulated by the treaty concluded 
with Turkey (Arts. 127, 143 and 144). 

The reading of the paper was followed by a discussion in which M. 
van Zuylen and Mr. Raster goueff took the chief part. The 
former said: 

,,Having been recently in touch with an old family of Russians near 
the frontier, I feel compelled to draw attention to a state of things to 
which no speaker as far has alluded. The previous speakers have been 
talking about the right of minorities. Well, if there is no speedy help 
for that minority, I am afraid that "soon no such minority will exist. The 
cruelty to those ci-devant rich people who had lands and property is 
most appalling. 

In Riga, some months ago, the home for old-age people was closed, 
and all those infirm and old people were turned into the street; they 
had no home to go to, no help, no protection. The food at the public 
kitchens was refused to them. The houses they owned are no longer 
their own. You are aware that all property has been confiscated, and 
that the present Government has declined to give any guarantee as to 
persons or lands. 

I may add that not only the home for old-age people has been 
closed, bud the adolescents' hospital at Riga has shared the same fate. 
Everywhere the private institutions' property has been seized and the 
owners turned out. 

I sincerely hope that those who are going to Geneva will call the 
attention of the Assembly to these facts, and urge the immediate neces- 
sity of protecting the very existence of those minorities." 

Mr. L. P. Rastorgoueff. ,,Though the question raised by my 
countryman, Baron Heyking, concerns only small localities in the Baltic 
States, I must say that behind it lies the much greater question of the 
rights of national minorities. After the great war, the map of Europe 
looks rather queer. Instead of the great Empires comprising each many 
nationalities, Europe is now divided into small portions; several new 
small States are being created, and not a single one is homogeneous; 
each State, by way of compensation, and by one means or another, has 
been granted strips of territories populated by people of different natio- 
nalities from the State itself. I do not know the present position in the 
Baltic States accurately, but it seems that newly created States which 
in past centuries have themselves been oppressed by dominant nations, 
are now striving to take revenge and are oppressing in their turn, the 
small minorities living within their territory. As far as I can under- 
stand, there is a hope that the Baltic States, which are not members 
yet of the League of Nations but which are applying for that members- 
hip, if they are admitted to the League of Nations, will have to alter 

*) See Chapter VII. 


their Constitution and grant certain rights to minorities. This seems 
to me to be all right. But, unfortunately, the Baltic States are not the 
only ones who oppress the minorities living on their territories. There 
are States which are members of the League of Nations who are doing 
the same, and perhaps worse, and yet the League of Nations is power- 
less and cannot restrain them. I am not going to dicuss what the reason 
is; that is a different question. But the fact is there that at present 
the League of Nations is powerless to restrain its own members from 
oppressing their national minorities." 

Chapter IV. 

Safeguarding the Rights of the Baltic Minorities. 

Paper presented to the Council of the League of Nations Societies, 
at Vienna, October 1921. 

At the present time, we stand on the threshold of a new era, in 
which people of different, positions in life are no longer divided into 
classes, and where social and ethnographical equality is considered a 
necessary corollory to a free political community. Under such new 
conditions, all the elements of the population, differ as they may, 
racially or religiously, have equal rights before the law of a State to 
which they all owe allegiance. 

In applying these fundamental principles, it is, above all, necessary 
that patriotism - - love of a common homeland - - should take the 
place of short-sighted and intolerant nationalism. A nation is but an 
international political entity. We speak of the American,- the Swiss, 
the Belgian nations, and others, although these nations consist of very 
different racial elements, and in the cases enumerated, have not even 
a particular language of their own. In every State there are racial 
majorities and minorities which together form a political conception 
of the nation. These combine in a common national ideal which pre- 
vents them from drifting apart. At the present time, throughout the 
civilised world, ,,Democracy" is blazing forth in flaming letters all over 
the political horizon - - a principle which, if it conveys any meaning 
at all - - embodies the postulates of liberty, equality and fraternity. 
But how can these tenets be carried into practice if the majority make 
a point of subjugating the minority, setting at nought their rights as 
human beings and continually stirring up strife? 

The rights of minorities in their essence represent the Magna 
Charta of humanity. They comprise principles, which civilised humanity 
of the twentieth century has proclaimed to be the irreducible heirloom 
of each single individual and every body of man. They are the rights 
of civilised man. Accordingly, the Treaty of Versailles and the supple- 
mentary Conventions with the new States do not limit themselves in 
establishing the privileges of religious freedom and equality, which 
were already provided for in the Treaty of Osnabruck 1648, in the 
Protocol of the four Allied Powers, Great Britain, Russia, Prussia and 
Austria - - when the re-union of Belgium and Holland (1814) was 
recognised, at the Congress of Vienna (1815), likewise at the London 
Conference for the independence of Greece (1830), and again, at the 


Treaty of Paris (1856), and also at the Treaty of Berlin (1878). The 
Treaty of Versailles goes farther, and plaees the legal position of mino- 
rities upon a new footing; no mere privileges are granted for minorities 
of race, language or religious denomination, no mere reference is made 
to the de faeto situations this time it is a question of rights. 

These new and enlightened principles on positive International 
law, signifying the legal recognition of the inalienable rights of the 
weak as opposed to the strong, and in support of their very existence 
as human beings, manifest, however, certain discrepancies in the fact 
that the League of Nations which has taken upon itself the function 
of being sponsor --is still in its infancy and has not yet acquired the 
power of enforcing its will under all circumstances. The tenets of the 
Minorities' Treaties have not always been conscientiously carried out, 
and the mere ..guarantee", of the League of Nations has not had, in 
practice, the desired effect of impelling obedience. It must be admitted, 
therefore, that the executive power of the League is not quite what 
it might be. Moreover, the rights of minorities are not even theoreti- 
cally sufficiently safeguarded. Minorities have hitherto not been recog- 
nised as public Corporations in the general system of the League of 
Nations or as subjects of International law. Only States as a whole 
have the right to address themselves to the International Tribunal, and 
minorities are not allowed to bring their grievances independently 
before the League of Nations, but have for this purpose to avail them- 
selves of the instrumentality of a member of the Council, who must 
consent to identify himself with the contents of the petition to be 
adressed to the Council of the League of Nations. It is easy to recog- 
nise that such an order of procedure is totally inadequate for safeguar- 
ding the minorities' rights. Since the revocation of the Edict of Nantes 
up to the present day when breaches of the minorities' rights occur 
only too frequently, it is glaringly apparent that the position of racial 
and 'religious minorities towards the overwhelming power of their 
ruling majorities, is precarious to the extreme and demands an extra- 
territorial guarantee. If the minorities' rights are violated, there is 
little hope that redress can be attained by lodging complaints with the 
home government, which, in the position of judex in propria causa, 
cannot assure impartiality and justice. Similarly, the representatives 
of any given country who are members of the Council of the League of 
Nations, cannot be expected to voice the complaints of their minorities 
against their own Home government. And, as the Council of the 
League of Natjons is composed exclusively of members of ruling majo- 
rities and does not admit a single representative of racial or religious 
minorities, these have no alternative but to find a member of the 
Council who could be persuaded to interest himself so far on their be- 
half as to identify himself with their cause. Thus there is no definitely 
constituted right for the minorities, but only a possibility that the com- 
plaint may come before the Council. However apart from very speci- 
fic political circumstances which might induce a member of the Council 
to take an active interest in the complaints raised by the minority of a 
foreign State, the representatives of every country are supposed to ob- 
serve the interests of their own State and, in the majority of cases, it 

28 -, 

would hardly be consonant with such interests if a member were to 
become the mouth-piece for a minority and voice their grievances 
against a State with which his own country is on friendly terms. The 
absurdity of such a position is shewn not only in theory but in practice 
when minorities have found out to their cost that foreign State represen- 
tatives will not compromise the friendly relations of their own State 
with that State against which the minority complains. And indeed, 
why should they do so? It is obvious therefore, that the whole po- 
sition is totally unpracticable and although complaints from minorities 
have been numerous, no member of the Council of the League ot 
Nations has come forward as their champion at the expense of compro- 
mising his own country. 

In order to avoid the odium of voluntary initiative in taking up 
minority claims, it was established on the 22nd October 1920, on the 
motion of Italy - - M. Tittoni, that the Council was ready to receive 
petitions from the minorities as information, and further, on the 
25th October 1920, the Council gave the President the right to take 
cognisance of these complaints which were addressed to the Council 
,,ex officio", and in each case, two members of the Council were designa- 
ted to form a Committee of Inquiry. Finally, the Council adopted a 
resolution on the 27th June 1921, according to which all petitions coming 
from persons who are not members of the Council, must, prior to being 
brought before the members of the Council, be presented to the State 
concerned which may, within two months, offer its ,,observances" on 
the said petition. The afore-mentioned ,,Commission" of Inquiry 
should it think fit to do so -- may submit a report about the case to 
the Council which ,,may procede in a manjier and give such instructions 
which may seem appropriate and efficacious under the given circum- 
stances". For instance, a special Commission of Inquiry may be 
appointed to investigate on the spot. The decision of the Council must 
be unanimous. If no agreement is reached and the difference of opinion 
thus bears an international character, the case may, in accordance with 
Article 14 of the Pact of the League of Nations, be brought before the 
Permanent International Tribunal of Justice at the Hague. 

This then, is the procedure existing at present for the safeguarding 
of the minorities' rights. From a juridical point of view, it does not 
bear criticism it is unfair and ineffectual in achieving the very aim in 
view, viz., the protection of the minorities. It does not even bear the 
characteristics of a law-suit where the parties opposing each other enjoy 
the same legal position in Court, for it places the complaining minorities 
distinctly at a disadvantage owing to the fact that they are not repre- 
sented in the Council, as is the case with their opponents who have every 
facility to make any statement they like in the absence of the other 
party. There is also no guarantee for the minorities that their com- 
plaint will ever be taken up, for that depends solely on the good-will 
of the President and the Council - - in other words, on considerations 
of a political nature and not on the requirements of justice. Altogether, 
the Council is in no sense a court of justice. And even if it happened 
that a case passed through all the vicissitudes of the deliberations of the 
Council, it is hardly possible to assume that the minorities would get 


any satisfaction. It reads very well that ,,in case of difference of opinion 
about questions of law or of fact between the interested State and 
another State, this difference will be considered as having an inter- 
national character, and that in accordance with Article 14 of the Pact 
of the League of Nations, the question would then be liable to be 
brought before the Permanent Court of Justice at the Hague."*) But 
what State would care to spoil its friendly relations with another State 
..pour les beaux yeux" of a foreign racial minority? No doubt we are 
here confronted with, a sort of half-way house, an abortive compromise 
endangering political interests and at the same time unsatisfying to the 
most elementary requirements of justice. The minorities must have 
real international safeguards which should be created before this 
hitherto unsettled question threatens to involve Europe in another 
conflagration. The following two propositions would attain this end: 

(1) Permanent Commissions of Control to be appointed by the 
League of Nations in Latvia and Eesti, empowered to supervise the 
application of the minorities' rights in these countries, to receive com- 
plaints from the minorities and bring them to the notice of the Council 
of the League of Nations and to take proceedings before the Inter- 
national Tribunal of Justice at the Hague. 

(2) That the minorities of each country be admitted as public Cor- 
porations in the general system of the League of Nations, invested with 
the right to plead before the permanent International Tribunal of Justice 
at the Hague. 

In setting forth these suggestions, it is well to note that the fifth 
Conference of the Federation of Associations of the League of Nations 
at Geneva in June 1921, decided to ,,invite the Council of the League 
of Nations to establish a permanent Commission to study any reports 
on complaints addressed to the League of Nations concerning the non- 
observance of minorites' rights and the measures to be taken in such 
an eventuality." In support of this idea, at the tenth session of the 
Council of the League of Nations in October 1921, Professor Murray, 
the delegate for South Africa, introduced an analogous proposal for 
creating a permanent Commission for supervising the observance of 
the minorities' treaties. Modern writers of repute on minorities' rights 
have repeatedly emphasised the importance of this consideration. The 
Bohemian, Professor Rudolf von Laun, stated that the right of mino- 
rities could not be safe-guarded except by international guarantee and 
with the right to appeal to an international court. Likewise, Dr. de 
Auer from Budapest in his paper read at the session of the Internatio- 
nal Law Association at the Hague in October 1921, vindicates the right 
of racial and religious minorities to take proceedings before the Inter- 
national Tribunal at The Hague. 

The chief objection against such a procedure lies in the fact that 
the minorities are not adequately organised, nor are they circumscribed 
as independent States, they are therefore unable to plead as a collec- 

*) ..Protection des minorites par la Societe des Nations, expose historique et 
juridique", by Helnier Rosting, Palais des Nations Geneve, 1922. 


live whole. But surely this deficiency can be remedied. Racial cada- 
stres including everyboly belonging to a given minority have already 
been introduced in many States, and in theory this requirement has 
been copiously formulated*) and, furthermore, the minorities in many 
States, have organised themselves in closely bound corporations. For 
instance, in Estonia a bill was brought before parliament about ,,orga- 
nisation of the autonomous racial minorities". In the different States 
the minorities are represented in Parliament by their respective mem- 
bers. It is therefore quite possible to look upon the racial minorities of 
a State as an organic whole, able to enjoy the position of a ,,personne 
morale" and endowed with full legal capacity even from an internatio- 
nal point of view, although they are by no means an independent sove- 
reign organism. The objection that no sovereign State could consent 
to have its dissentient with its minorities brought before a foreign 
tribunal, is null and void, since the League of Nations and its associate, 
the permanent Tribunal at the Hague represent all the States which 
are its members and are therefore, not foreign but national in a wider 
sense. Of course a sceptic could say that even so the minorities cannot 
be sure that their rights wjll be observed since the League of Nations 
and the Permanent Tribunal at The Hague have no military force at 
their command, but, on the other hand, it would be of great impor- 
tance if the Permanent Tribunal at the Hague were to pronounce itself 
on minorities' questions, for the moral weight of such judgements would 
undoubtedly go far to improve the position of the minorities. 

The principles laid down in ten treaties concluded at Trianon, Ver- 
sailles and Sevres have inspired the ..recommendation" of the Assembly 
of the League of Nations adopted on December 15th 1920, to the effect 
that: ,,In the event of the Baltic, the Caucasian States, and Albania 
being admitted to the League, the Assembly requests that they should 
take the necessary measures to enforce the principles of the minorites' 
treaties, and that they should arrange with the Council the details 
required to carry this object into effect." Thereupon, the President 
of the Latvian Republic stated in the cession of the Constituent As- 
sembly of the 23rd September, 1921, that Latvia, by her admission to 
the League of Nations, had acquired certain rights and also certain 
responsibilities. ,,It is our duty", said the President, ,,to adheer strictly, 
to International laws and customs." It is certainly true that the 
Latvian and Estonian governments have already incorporated some of 
the principles of the minorities' rigths into their constitution, but it is 
rather unfortunate that they are often not observed!**) The best of laws 
and the loftiest principles are worthless if not put into practice. From 
centuries past, minorities have been wronged and outraged by tyranni- 
cal majorities. The world sighs for peace, but no peace is pos- 
sible until the rights of minorities become a, living force and an article 
of political faith carried out into aqtual practice by all the nations of 
the world. 

*) Vide Wolzendorff:- ,,Recht der nationalen Minderheiten und der National- 
kataster", Berlin 1921. 
.**) Vide Chapter VI. 


Chapter V. 

Instances of Breach of the Minorities' Rights. 

The systematic oppression and plunder of the defenceless minori- 
ties of Latvia and Eesti has been manifested in various ways. Only 
a few instances need be quoted characteristic of this whole system. 
The events of the war and the Bolshevik invasion forced a considerable 
number of the landed proprietors of Latvia and Eesti to fle.e abroad 
as refugees, but all their present endeavours to obtain permission to 
return to their homes, are unsuccessful, various futile pretexts being 
extended to support this refusal. In their absence, their property is 
being confiscated, and those who decide to be naturalised in another 
State are denied the right of option to liquidate their affairs in their 
own country. The government administration of these estates by in- 
capable and dishonest State officials has been most destructive in con- 
sequence of waste and robbery. Stupendous deficits amounting to 
millions of roubles are the result and are charged to the proprietor, 
and covered by forced sales of agricultural implements. Thus any com- 
pensation is automatically wiped out. 

In Eesti, religious instruction is no longer obligatory in public 
schools. This measure has created consternation among the Ests them- 
selves, who are by nature religious. The country churches and vica- 
rages whose regular stipend was the land granted to them by the large 
landowners, have been deprived of their previous means of existence, 
their land having been confiscated without the grant of any sort of 
compensation. The pastors now receive from the community a salary 
which is quite inadequate. In Latvia, the land belonging to each coun- 
try Church was expropriated, leaving a remnant plot of some 49 acres, 
for the pastor's use. In many towns, villages and scattered country 
districts, the parishes include a German-speaking and a Lettish com- 
munity which both use the same Church. Consequently, each congre- 
gation should be given the portion of land left over for the use of their 
respective pastors. But it was only the Lettish congregation who were 
granted land for their pastor, while the German-speaking congregation 
were denied such. The centuries' old Baltic-Protestant Church of St. James 
(Jacobi) in Riga, is to be expropriated against the expressed will of the 
parishioners, in order that Roman Catholics Letts should have it. Other 
churches belonging to the Russian and German-speaking communities 
are also to be taken over by the Letts. Many schools of the minorities 
are subjected to a system of destruction by forceful means, such as the 
expropriation of the building of the Baltic classical school at Goldingen, 
the grammar school at Postroggen, Puhnen, Katzdangen and Kikkurn in 
Latvia. Only quite recently, the municipal administration at Riga, 
decreed that the directors of the German schools in the town should 
pass a written and oral examination in the Lettish language, before the 
beginning of the next term; the town representatives of German racial 
origin protested --of course in vain! 

In Latvia three languages are spoken, Lettish, German and 
Russian, and in Eesti the languages are Estonian, German and 


Russian, but only a small minority of the citizens speak ail 
the three languages. The names of the streets were therefore inscribed 
in all three languages, but now they are only written in Lettish or 
Estonian, as if none but Letts or Ests were living in the country! In the 
towns, Goldingen and Mitau, it is even intended to have the private 
inscriptions on entrance doors put up in Lettish only, converted into 
that language by the addition of Lettish syllables. In country districts, 
Lettish State employees make a point of only speaking the Lettish 
language, which is entirely unintelligible to many citizens of non- 
Lettish origin. 

The right of ownership has been violated in many ways, for in- 
stance by depriving certain ,,personnes morales", such as the town 
guilds and the Corporation of Noblemen, of their legal rights, and con- 
fiscating all real and personal estate belonging to them, and all property 
under their private guardianship. The full significance of abolishing 
the Corporation of Noblemen in Latvia and Eesti, appears from the 
following trenchant fact, that on the first of March 1920, Latvia promul- 
gated a preparatory law, according to which property belonging to ,,per- 
-sonnes morales" which had been pronounced non est, should, failing 
a legally constituted heir or successor, fall to the State. Thereupon, by 
the law of June 29th, 1920, the Corporation of Noblemen of Latvia was 
abolished for the express purpose of enabling the State to appropriate 
their property, although the Corporation no longer held any public 
office or function, and was merely a private society presiding solely 
over the private interests -of its members like any other friendly society. 
In Finland, where the political circumstances resemble those of Eesti 
and Latvia, the continued existence of their Corporation of Nobles, 
with all its private rights, was confirmed by the Ordinance of 1918, 
notwithstanding the fact that the country is a Republic. Likewise, in 
England and other countries, the Guilds and ancient Corporations which 
no longer exercise any political rights, continue to exist as before, 
possessing houses, churches and collections of art treasures. The in- 
dustrial guilds and Corporations of Noblemen in Latvia and Eesti were 
suppressed on the pretext that their property must be ,,placed under 
the administration of the government, since the present political struc- 
ture of Latvia and Eesti does not admit of the existence of industrial 
guilds arid Corporations of Noblemen". But, surely, as already men- 
tioned there is no question of any public or political rights being exer- 
cised by these Associations, composed of free citizens who should have 
the right of congregating, of forming friendly societies and of possessing 
property. It is quite legitimate for any government to deprive any 
association from exercising such public rights as are considered opposed 
to the advanced republican aspirations of the country, but it is cer- 
tainly unlawful to lay hands on property which does not belong to the 
State, and to prohibit the continued existence of ,,personnes morales", 
who, by law enjoy the right of possessing property. It is alleged that 
these ,,guilds" and ..Corporations" should not be allowed to exist even 
as private institutions, because they are not composed of Letts and 
Ests, and politically may become of an anti-Lettish or anti-Estonian 
orientation. Apart from the fact that this is an insinuation without 


any foundation whatever, it is uncontrovertible that racial minorities, 
such as the Balto-Saxons, Russians, Poles and Jews, should have the 
right to maintain their own racial ideals; they are legally represented in 
the Constituent Assembly, and are, by the constitution of the country, 
entitled to defend their interests, but, since they form so small a per- 
centage of the whole population, it is simply unthinkable that they 
could ever be a real menace to the Lettish and Estonian Commonwealth. 
To any unpredjudiced mind, the real reason for the suppression ot 
friendly societies and the expropriation of their property is, therefore, 
only too apparent, in spite' of the excuses and pretexts advanced - 
Latvia and Eesti have up till now been living on loot, this is the whole 
question as it stands! 

The most striking instance in expropriation may be seen in the 
so-called Agrarian Reform, by which all private estates, larger than a 
medium sized peasant farm, have been expropriated - - in Eesti from 
May 1st, and in Latvia, from October 1st 1920 excepting only a plot 
from 60 to 80 acres which is to be assigned to the original proprietors, 
which land, according to the decision of the present Cabinet in Latvia, 
must by no means contain, either the manor or the chief agricultural 
buildings. According to the Agrarian Reform Act under the Ulmanis- 
Cabinet, in certain cases, the plots of land surrounding the manor had 
been legally assigned to their original owners, now by the Meyerowiz- 
government, even this piece of land is suddenly confiscated, and the 
unhappy owners are allotted a portion of land of regulation size in a 
far remote corner, and sometimes not even on the same estate. Here 
we have a double breach of the right of property! Furthermore, there 
is nothing more deliberately aggravating in the whole Agrarian Reform 
than the confiscation of houses where families have lived for gene- 
rations, which become hallowed places of family tradition and where 
the intrinsic value is enhanced by ties of personal affection. It is easy 
to understand how poignant such a mode of action is, which does not 
bear the excuse of a necessitous economic provision, but is merely 
adding insult to injury. 

The Agrarian Reform has been used as a weapon against the mino- 
rities. In this connection, it is not without piquancy that the President 
of the Latvian Republic, Tschakste, owns an estate of some 330 acres in 
the district of Bauske, while all other estates in the same neighbourhood 
belonging to Baits have been expropriated and partitioned off, the ori- 
ginal proprietors being expelled from their homes. 

Since 1919 the sale and purchase of plots of land in Latvija is only 
permitted by special licence given by the Minister of Justice. Such 
licence to buy land is only" granted to Letts. For instance, the Agri- 
cultural Association of Baits at Bauske requested the Lettish govern- 
ment for permission to acquire the estate of ,,Kautzmiinde" for opening- 
tip nurseries, but they were refused as it was affirmed that Baits were 
not permitted to acquire land. This is an example of how ,,racial equa- 
lity" is understood in Latvia! 

Agricultural and Industrial works which had been legally assigned 
to Baits who had invested their capital in them to keep them going, 
have been expropriated, thereby bringing about ruination. 


In the rural districts, agricultural industrial works have been expro- 
priated en masse. Lately, in the neighbourhood of Riga and Wenden 
alone, there were expropriated: mills in Lennewarden, Studden- 

bach, Stubbensee, Idsel, Bilsteinhof, Bersehof, Kempen, Ronneburg, 
Horstenhof, Lubahn, Lirsenhof, Lenzenhof, Festen, Castle-Serben, and 
Fehteln-Odsen; a lime-kiln in Lindenberg, brick-kilns in Kastran, Adia- 
munde, Koltzen, Bersehof, Siggund, Fistehlen, Serben and Dewen; 
breweries in Bersehof, Notkenshof and Lubahn; saw-mills in Linden- 
berg, Augustenthal, Lenzenhof and Mahrzen; a plaster-of-Paris factory 
in Pawassern; a fishcuring factory in Zarnikau and nurseries Sesswegen. 

In Eesti no land whatever, was granted to the proprietors, forests 
have been expropriated without any compensation, while the ex- 
propriated agricultural land in Latvija will be compensated by only 
one tenth of the value it had before the war. But even this decimal 
compensation will not be paid in cash, but by mortgage bonds to be 
issued by a new State Agrarian bank having the express purpose as 
the Bill itself sets forth - - to destroy existing private Agrarian banks. 
Compensation for expropriated land is therefore practically non-exi- 
stent. In Eesti this is even more apparent. The Estonian Agrarian 
Reform law does not lay it down as part of the duty of the State to 
offer compensation for expropriated land, but leaves the question of 
compensation - - if any to be dealt with by a law which will be 
drawn up in the future. Three years have passed since the 
Estonian Agrarian Reform law was issued, and no law regulating the 
question of compensation has, as yet, come into existence! Under such 
circumstances, the expropriation of the larger landed property can 
hardly mean anything else but pure and simple confiscation. Agri- 
cultural implements, the property of the larger estates, are compen- 
sated according to the decisions of a government commission, which 
makes it a point of fixing the compensation so low as to be ridiculously 
inadequate, averaging one tenth of the market value of the expropriated 
property. For instance, in Latvia a complete threshing machine, which 
before the war cost approximately 5,000 roubles in gold, is now esti- 
mated at 25,000 Lettish roubles, which are only equal to 250 gold 
roubles. However, the proprietor is not permitted to receive even this 
compensation until he has paid all the exhorbitant taxes demanded by 
the State, mortgage debts and the like. But as the landed property has 
been taken over by the State, the unhappy proprietor is naturally unable 
to pay up, and here again, the much vaunted compensation evaporates 
into thin air. Another similar case may be quoted of a Bait whose 
threshing machine, insured for 120,000 Roubles, was expropriated and a 
compensation of only 50,000 Roubles in paper was given to him,, minus 
the cash! At the same time, he was charged for using the same machine, 
as price of hire, for one single occasion, 20,000 Roubles plus 4,000 Roub- 
les insurance premium*). Such cases of systematic pauperisation are 
characteristic of the spirit of the Lettish government. 

The expropriation of the larger landed property in Latvia and 

*) Dr. P. Schiemann in the ,,Rigasche Rundschau" of November 12th 9121, 
on ,,Government and Chauvinism". 


Eesti, is certainly most detrimental to the economic requirements of 
the country, the Baltic agrarian administration in the past having been 
one of the most efficient in Europe. Roughly speaking, two-thirds of 
the whole area of the country under cultivation, was in the hands of 
the peasants, while only one third belonged to the larger proprietors, 
on whose land lots of different sizes were partitioned out and let to 
individual farmers. And the land belonging to the peasants was secu- 
rely safe-guarded by law against all possible encroachments. So satis- 
factory was this Agrarian constitution, that in Eesti the peasantry oppo- 
sed the new land reform, but the government won the day by appea- 
ling to the instinct of the masses at large, especially to the Town prole- 
tariat, who had all to gain and nothing to lose from any change in the 
actual existing order. 

The purely predatory character of the land reform is also shewn 
by the fact that, for want of applications for small holdings, the Lettish 
government decided to leave undivided nearly one third of the con- 
fiscated landed property, and to work these large estates for the benefit 
of the State, as though they had never belonged to private owners. On 
the 17th December 1920, the land owners of Latvia belonging to the 
minorities of different racial origin felt it their duty to lodge a formal 
protest before the Latvian Constituent Assembly against this so-called 
Land Reform. They pointed out that for adequate compensation they 
were ready to give up that portion of the land required by genuine 
settlers, but that they could not willingly submit to the wholesale con- 
fiscation of their land. 

What, then, is the real meaning of this so-called Agrarian Reform? 
Is it to provide for landless settlers? Certainly not! For, as already 
stated the larpe landed proprietors have, from the very beginning, repea- 
tedly shewn their readiness to partition off as much land as may be 
required to satisfy those who are genuine in their desire to settle on 
the land. Is it to improve the already existing agricultural system? 
A'/ain, certainly not! The large landed proprietors were expert agri- 
culturists, and Latvia and Eesti were among the most prosperous pro- 
vinces of Russia. The dissolution of so many agricultural units, the 
lack of monetary means of the new settlers to erect houses and sheds, 
to buy the necessary implements, have disorganised the whole agricul- 
tural system of the country and considerably lowered the productivity 
of the soil at a time when the State was very badly in need of increa- 
sing its exportation of cereals abroad. Is it to introduce a more just 
and equal distribution of wealth? Most emphatically no! As agricul- 
tural production is, broadly speaking, an economic problem; let those 
be possessors of landed property who understand how to maintain 
themselves on the land without incurring perpetual loss. Thus the 
whole Latvian arid Estonian legislation bears the stamp of a racial and 
socialistic movement directed against those landed proprietors who 
are not Letts, having been framed for the purpose of pandering to class- 
feeling and racial hatred, and not with the idea of promoting the wel- 
fare cf the community. In a recent decision of the Supreme Court in 
Eesti. it was expressly stipulated that the large landed property should 
be abolished in order that ,,the land should be given to the autochthon 


population", by whom, the Ests are indicated, not the Baits although 
they have been in the land for seven hundred years. Any small plot 
of land of the size of a peasant-holding, if possessed by a Bait, is ex- 
propriated for the sole reason that the owner is not a Lett. Likewise 
Baltic owners of gardens, houses, mills or any agricultural establishment 
have their property expropriated for the positively stated reason that 
the owner is not a Lett or Est. In the parliament and in the press ot 
Latvia and Eesti, no secret is made of the fact that the Land laws are 
for the purpose of crushing the non - Lettish and non - Estonian 
elements of the State and are therefore pointedly directed against 
the minorities. According to a recent statement of Mr. Samuel, 
the Latvian Minister of Agriculture, the aim of the Agrarian reform is 
,,the complete annihilation of the large Baltic landed properties, and 
the suppression of alien influence in the country". It is therefore 
nothing more than a device against the right of property, the lawful 
proprietor being evicted in order that he may be supplanted by Letts 
and Ests, but the de-possessed proprietors and their families, who used 
to live on the land, having now lost all their means of subsistence, are 
faced with the prospect of dying of hunger and want. Such is the cata- 
strophic position of those land owners in the Balticum who are neither 
Ests nor Letts. And at the same time, the Letts know perfectly well 
that they cannot do without large landed properties. 

The actual purport of the Agrarian Reform is often intentionally 
obscured, thus a correspondent from Riga writes to the ,,Temps" on 
the 4th May 1921, ,,Les grands proprietaires fonciers en Lettonie desirent 
maintenir 1'integrite de leurs domaines et de leurs privileges surannees". 
But, there is no question of any ..privileges"! The large land owners 
are only daring to raise an objection to robbery, and have the audacity 
to claim the right to their property. 

But, even the ruthless and lawless Agrarian Reform was not deemed 
by the Letts as sufficient to economically annihilate the non-Lettish 
population. Small settlers of Russian and German racial origin who 
had come from the interior of Russia and settled in Courland before the 
Latvian Republic existed, and had acquired in the country their legal 
domicile and their homesteads of the size of a peasant's holding, were 
evicted by force, and their estate seized from them without compen- 
sation. Morever a Bill has been introduced stipulating that petty 
traders in articles of foot and those for daily use will be admitted only in 
the same proportion as their race bears towards the Lettish population. 
Of course the chief sufferers will be the Jews whose number of traders 
is far in excess to their numerical proportion to other races. 

If it be necessary to give further proof that the chief aim of the 
authorities in Latvia and Eesti, lies in their appropriation of the posses- 
sions of the minorities, examples can be quoted of the confiscation and 
requisition of their real and personal property in the towns. If in Riga 
alone, requisitioned furniture and houses were to be returned to their 
lawful owners, half a legion of State employees and State Institutions 
would have to give up their quarters! Confiscation is also the key- 
note of the enforced liquidation of the Agrarian banks, by which all 
the assets of these private institutions have been expropriated without 

any compensation, the intention being to further destroy the economic 
resources of the Baltic minorities. But, especially malign is the con- 
fiscation of private property under the pretext that their owners are 
guilty of political crime. Those who were in sympathy with the Con- 
servative government of Needra, or with the Bermont raid, are branded 
as traitors*). A special commission of political inquiry, under the 
Latvian Constituent Assembly is empowered to arrest and intern 
anyone, such inquiry being conducted much on the same lines as the 
Bolshevik ,,Tcheka". There is also a plan for the creation of a special 
political court to punish those who have opposed the formation of the 
Latvian Republic. Lettish subjects of non-Lettish extraction, are often 
only permitted to return from abroad under the express condition that 
they do not leave the country again, although there may be no legal 
proceedings of any kind instituted against them. Surely, this is nothing 
more than taking advantage of and engineering for party purposes 
past political enterprises. The so-called Russian North-western govern- 
ments aim was to resurrect Russia by suppressing the Bolsheviks. 

To form a clear idea of the position in which citizens of non- 
Lettish and non-Estonian origin now find themselves in Latvia and Eesti, 
it is worth while to refer to Baron W. Fircks very appropriate speech 
in the Latvian Constituent Assembly on the llth October 1921. 

On the llth October, 1921, Baron W. Fircks said: -- ,,Under this 
government which has been founded with the express intent and pur- 
pose of doing away with the minorities, attacks against them have been 
so much intensified, that an almost unbearable atmosphere has been 
created. The German-speaking peoples in the small towns and scattered 
around the country-side, are especially severely affected, and, if one 
happens to own an estate and belongs to the Nobility, he may be 
subjected to persecution and oppression in any form! Yet, a few 
months ago, it was not so. Then the landowners who returned to their 
places, had nothing to complain of in their parishes, and they were 
unmolested in the work in which they were occupied. However the 
position is very different today. Fostered ill-feeling among the various 
races has so grown apace, that peaceful co-operation has become almost 
impossible. Lately the newspaper ,,Talsener Anzeiger", which is 
published by the administration of the district under government con- 
trol, gives prominence to an article calculated to stir up strife, in which 
there is an attack on the Jews demanding that they be driven out of 
the country, and then an onslaught is made against four Baltic gent- 
lemen living in Talsen and the surrounding neighbourhood. These gent- 
lemen are accused of treason and their expulsion is demanded: they 
are Latvian subjects, their documents are in order, and no legal procee- 
dings have been made against them. Two of them, Baron Fircks 
(,,Okten") and Count Lambsdorff (,,Klahnen") were at one time accused 
of having supported the Bermont enterprise; a judicial inquiry was 
intended, but, on the demand of the Procurator the charge was with- 
drawn. The third gentleman, Mr. Pop, a hair-dresser, who was abroad 
during the whole of the period of national upheaval, cannot be accused 

*) Vide Chapter I. 


therefore for being a partisan of Bermont. The fourth gentleman Baron 
Hahn (Postenden), was, up to the last day of the war against the Bol- 
sheviks, at the front at Lettgall, risking his life for the liberation of 
Lettland. No-one in the whole district of Talsen has ever looked upon 
these gentlemen as a menace to the country, but a press organ of the 
government considers itself justified in opening an attack upon them. 
Consequently, the head of the district has taken the matter up, and 
demands the town council to pass a vote against these gentlemen. He 
avers that these four gentlemen are, stirring up the people' and that 
therefore they should be forced into banishment from the country!" 

Apart from the flagrancy of such an act against four citizens of the 
unblemished reputation, this case of attempted expulsion from the State 
territory also merits comment from the point of view of International 
law. Since every State has the right to. refuse admission to a foreigner 
deemed undesirable, it cannot be accepted in principle that a citizen 
is banished from his own native land, for he might be refused admit- 
tance to foreign States.*) 

This will suffice to give an idea of the position of the minorities in 
Latvia and Eesti. The picture is fittingly completed by a declaration 
of the Prime Minister, Mr. Meijerowiz, given to the Secretary General 
of the League of Nations, which runs as follows: ,,Concerning the 
protection of minorities in Lettland, I beg to point out that the Latvian 
Constituent Assembly has already taken measures which guarantee to 
the minorities the widest possible scholastic and cultural autonomy - 
measures which correspond to the general principles such as were 
formulated in the minorities' treaty, and the precise observance of 
which is assiduously controlled by the government". (Sic!) 

Chapter VI. 


A plea for Reform. 

Paper read at a Committee on Nationality appointed by the 

International Law Association at 2 King's Bench Walk, 

Temple, London, on February 24th, 1922. 

The term nationality is often used in different ways; to one it 
conveys the meaning of racial affinity, to another it has a territorial 
significance comprising the whole population of any given State. Has 
it a purely ethnographical meaning or is it a conception of municipal 
law? Surely, there can be little doubt about the true sense of nationa 
lity. Subjects of the law of nations and the League of Nations are 
not racial unities but political entities recognised as such by Public 
Law-viz., States. Racial affinities in many instances may have exercised 
a constructive agency in the formation of a State, but, again, in' other 
cases this has not been so. It is not therefore possible to identify racial 
unity and the State and to use both terms promiscuously. Moreover, 
many states like China, Russia, the United States of America, Great 

*) See Chapter VI. 


Britain and Switzerland, though they offer the aspect of a mosaic of 
different races, are none the less nations in the true international sense 
of the word. Therefore, to all intents and purposes, nationality means 
political unity irrespective of race. And in this sense it is used in 
this paper. 

Discrepancies in the legislation of the different states of the world 
in matters regarding naturalisation, and the relinquishment of nationa- 
lity, have of old been one of the sorest points in the much vaunted 
community of civilised nations. As a matter of fact, this condition of 
affairs exhibits a deplorable lack of solidarity in the understanding and 
application of those fundamental principles on which civilised life is 
based; it makes international law contradictory an inextricable maze 
i;t enactments opposed to each other. It is no exaggeration to say that 
there is no greater hindrance to the creation of an harmonious society 
of civilised nations, than this deficiency in the co-ordination of the 
rules defining nationality in the different states of the world, and there 
is therefore much room to adjust the idea of nationality to fit the 
various legislations so that there be no conflicting duties and incon- 
sistencies in the status of the individual. 

Recent international legislation has not helped to solve this problem, 
but has rather made it more complicated. Thus it would seem to be 
one of the tasks of the League of Nations to be instrumental in bringing 
the different legislations regulating nationality, into line with each other. 
The practical importance of this proposition from the point of view 
of international law needs no emphasis. A person who has no alle- 
giance whatever, or has more than one, occupies a position involving 
great difficulties, and if ill-intentioned a loop-hole may be given 
to evade those obligations bearing upon national allegiance. 

In the Middle Ages allegiance was perpetual, it could not be relin- 
quished ,,Nemo potest exuere patriam". In most states this idea of 
permanent nationality has been given up. For instance, in Great 
Britain, the Naturalisation Act of 1870 enabled a British born indi- 
vidual to renounce his allegiance by becoming the naturalised subject 
of a foreign Power. But in some states, this old conception of natio- 
nality as ,,caractere indelibile" is still preserved, as for instance in 
Russia and Turkey. With the exception of the lawful marriage of 
Russian women with foreigners, when the Russian nationality is given 
up as a mere consequence of marriage, a change of nationality by a 
Russian cannot be effected without an exception from the general rule 
being made, which exception used to be granted by a special license 
from the Emperor. Furthermore, persons of the male sex over fifteen 
years of age, could only obtain this permission after they had served 
their term of military service. However, according to a bill regarding 
nationality introduced in the course of special Inter-departmental de- 
liberation of the Russian Home Ministry, before the war, Russian natio- 
nality might be ceded when: - 

(1) Illegitimate children of Russian nationality were adopted by 
the father who is of foreign nationality: 

(2) Russian women were married to foreigners: 

A subject was expelled from Russian nationality when: 


(a) He became a foreign subject without previously severing the 
bond of Russian nationality: 

(b) A naturalised Russian subject, obeying the laws of the country 
to which he formerly belonged, takes advantage of the rights of his 
previous nationality: 

(c) A man evades military or naval service. 

(d) Nomads are leaving Russian territory. 

Although this Bill is an improvement on the former idea of natio- 
nality, it is not satisfactory in that it deprives Russian individuals of 
their nationality irrespective of the question whether they have ac- 
quired another nationality, thus creating the possibility of a status of 
,,no nationality" whatever. Bolshevik legislation has even aggravated 
this position by pronouncing all Russian fugitives abroad who up to 
March 1st, 1922, did not petition the Bolshevik authorities for a natio- 
nal pass-port, to be deprived of their nationality. But Russians who 
have fled abroad from Bolshevik oppression, rapine and murder will 
certainly not do this, and thereby, over two million souls lose their Rus- 
sian citizenship without being naturalised in any other country, being 
liable to be expelled as ,,undesirable aliens" or refused admittance! Truly, 
this is an appalling situation and a danger which assumes an especially 
threatening shape at the present moment when scarcity of food-stuffs 
and fear of socialistic propaganda induce many states to be very 
cautious in dealing with immigrants and aliens. For instance, the Uni 
ted States, which at one time was the haven for European emigrants, 
has found it necessary to restrict immigration by most drastic mea- 
sures, and the British colonies have followed suit. It is therefore alto- 
gether an impossible proposition that human beings should be inter- 
national outcasts - - citizens of no State - - without a national home, 
without national protection, liable to affronts or outrage from anybody, 
or to become a burden on any State. This case of Russian fugitives 
from Russia is of course of an exceptional nature, and has even become 
more difficult to deal with since the Congi ess of Genoa, when Bolshevik 
Russia has, by the very fact of being admitted to an international de- 
liberation, gained a form of international recognition, which hitherto 
had been denied, and which is tantamount to an official recognition de 
jure, as an independent State. However, all European states who do 
not believe in Bolshevik murder and rapine masquerading as a system 
of government, will have to admit that the fugitives from Russia must 
enjoy the right of asylum and for the sake of pure humanity, they 
should not be handed over to their Bolshevik butchers. Under these 
circumstances, the anomalous position of emigrants of no country, will 
have to last until Russian affairs become more normal. In the mean- 
while, Russian emigrants being at least subditi temporarii, should be 
allowed to enjoy certain rights in their personal status and should be 
treated with regard to their passports and legal affairs, independently 
of the Soviet Government on their own merits, as they cannot be ex- 
pected to apply to Soviet authorities. As a very temporary way out 
of this international difficulty, the Foreign Office in each country where 
Russian Bolshevik refugees happen to be living, should grant them 
certificates of personal identity drawn up on the strenght of two or 


more reliable witnesses, and these certificates should have the character 
of passports enabling the holder to reside in the country issuing them 
and to travel in other countries after obtaining the necessary visas from 
the representatives of those countries they intend to visit. 

Banishment of citizens from their own country is a practice which 
leads to a state of affairs entirely incompatible with the point of view 
of harmonious relations between the- States of the world. An example 
may be quoted of the Russian Penal Code (Art. 325), which sets forth 
that ,,any person, having gone abroad, who takes service there without 
the authority of the Government, or who becomes naturalised, incurs 
loss of all his civil rights and perpetual banishment". Many states 
which were created by the Versailles Peace Conference, have adopted 
this obsolete idea for no other reason than the convenience of shifting 
the burden of responsibility for their own nationals to countries 
wherever these unhappy people may be finding temporary shelter. 
However, it may certainly be laid down as an axiom that no state can 
free itself from the obligation to deal with its own subjects. For in- 
stance, Latvia considers herself at liberty to expel some of her own 
citizens of non-Lettish racial origin and to forbid others to return 
home from abroad. Thus she is keeping out of the country many of 
her citizens who, though of non-Lettish descent have, with their 

ancestors, lived for centuries as natives of the country. This is a crime 
against nationality and a breach of international law. For the sake of 
those principles which the League of Nations has undertaken to defend, 
it is important that each lawful citizen of Latvia should be allowed to 
return to his or her native land, to live there unmolested and in peace. 

The laws determining nationality passed by the Latvian Consti- 
tuent Assembly on September 5th, 1919, and October 7th, 1921, do not 
acknowledge this principle in all its compass. Only such persons may 
apply for Lettish citizenship: 

(a) Who up to August 1st 1914, had been living on Latvian terri- 
tory at least within the last twenty years: 

(b) Who up to 1881 had their domicile in Latvia: 

(c) Who are the descendants of those under categories (b) and (c), 
provided that all those under these categories were Russian subjects 
at the moment of Latvia's separation from Russia and who at that 
time had their domicile on Latvian territory. 

Thus, all those of Baltic, Jewish or Russian origin .who, at the 
approach of the German army of occupation in the Baltic Provinces, 
had been transported by the Russian Government into the interior of 
the Empire, where they were forced to stay until the conclusion of 
peace, should not be considered to have forfeited their right to Lettish 
citizenship. But the Latvian authorities refused them admittance when 
they attempted to return to their own native land. Not one of the 
21 Jews who had been evacuated from Latvia to the Province of Tche- 
Ijabinsk, were given permission to re-enter Latvia; out of 154, who were 
sent to the province of Saratow, 151 were turned away from the Lettish 
frontier; out of 81 evacuated to Moscow, 75 were not allowed to return 
to Latvia, and none at all were allowed to go back from Polotsk, 
Vitebsk, and so forth. Banishment has also bean inflicted on small 


settlers of Russian and German racial origin, who years before the 
war, had bought small peasant estates in Latvia and acquired a domi- 
cile in that country. Finally, those accused of sympathy whit the first 
conservative Cabinet of Needra or with complicity in the war-like 
operations if Colonel Bermont-Avaloff have likewise been denied per- 
mission to return to Latvia, although they may have been actually born 
on Latvian territory.") 

Altogether the Latvian law of nationality is by no means in kee- 
ping with the rights of minorities granted in the Minorities' Treaties 
and with the general principle of jus soli and jus sanguinis. It pre- 
cludes a great number of persons who undoubtedly have a right to 
consider themselves Latvian citizens, although they belong to the racial 
minorities of Latvia. The term of twenty years and forty years resi- 
dence in Latvia prior to 1881, which is demanded before citizenship 
can be granted, are so many pit-falls for those who find it difficult to 
procure, documentary proof relating to their movements in past periods 
of time. According to International law, when ceding a portion of 
territory to another State, a certain limit of time is given to the popu- 
lation of that district in which to elect to continue their previous natio- 
nality. After the lapse of such period of time they become, ipso facto, 
citizens of the state which had acquired their territory. This 
principle was observed, for instance, in the peace treaty of Frankfurt, 
10th May, 1871, in the German-English Agreement concerning Heligo- 
land On June 1st, 1890, and the Spanish-American treaty on Cuba on 
November 18th, 1898. It was therefore, the general rule that the people 
adopted the nationality of the new State which had acquired their 
territory whilst opting and the option for another nationality was the 
exception. The same principle is also maintained in all treaties, there 
being a difference only in time limit allowed for the exercise of the 
option. The peace treaty of Versailles is no exception to this rule. 

Latvia has adopted the opposite procedure by recognising only a 
certain part of the population, viz., the Letts, as citizens in all cases 
racial minorities being placed on. a different footing: they had to 
petition within six months for admission to Lettish citizenship. The 
difference is obvious, instead of a right, permission for a petition is 
given, which might be refused or accepted by the Lettish authorities - 
and as a matter of fact, these petitions were often rejected or simply 
ignored -- a .flagrant breach of international law. It is therefore fully 
comprehensible why the racial minorities in the Baltic states demand 
that the question of their nationality should be settled on the same 
lines as in other countries, as in accordance with international law. 

In certain states, desertion is another source of ,,no nationality". 
According to the American Act of March 3rd, 1865, deserters from the 
United States' military or naval service ,,are deemed to have volun- 
tarily relinquished and forfeited their rights of citizenship." Here, as 
in the case of banishment, the State rids itself of its own citizens, 
although internationally, it has no right to do so. 

The number of persons belonging to no country is also swelled by 
those who have been denaturalised in accordance with the British 

*) See Chapter I. 


nationality and status of aliens Acts, 1914 and 1918, and are practically 
in the same position as nationals banished from their own country. 
Such a predicament is further brought about by lawful authorities whose 
endeavour it should be to prevent such abnormities and not to create 
them. Forcible de-naturalisation is an absurdity from the point of view 
of municipal and international law. 

According to the old German municipal law, Germans lose their 
nationality if they reside abroad for more than ten years without 
registering their names as German nationals in a German Consulate. 

There is alto the case in British municipal law of children born 
abroad whose fathers never resided in the country of their nationality, 
which often results in no nationality, as in many states the mere fact 
of birth taking place on that territory does not, ipso facto, constitute 
the right of citixenship. The United States and Great Britain look 
upon such cases as acts of tacit expatriation without investigating 
whether the loss of one allegiance synchronises with the adoption ot 
another. But as a general principle, expatriation should not be assumed 
except it coincides with naturalisation in another country. 

Such then, are typical examples of individuals who find themselves 
outside the boundaries of any nationality, as a result of the looseness 
of municipal legislation in the various states of the world. In order 
to bring these varying legislations into line it should be recognised as 
a fundamental principle that no individual should be put into a position, 
or be allowed to lose his or her nationality without acquiring a 
new one. 

Equally anomalous with ,,no nationality" is the case of dual natio- 
nality due to lack of co-ordination of the municipal legislations in 
different countries as to the conditions under which citizenship is 
acquired or lost. Russia and Turkey, as already mentioned, have hi- 
therto preserved the antiquated idea of the immutability of nationality. 
A conflict in the legislation on this point between different states, is 
therefore unavoidable. In many states, as for instance, in Great Britain, 
(Naturalisation Act of 1870) a foreigner who has lived five years on the 
territory of the state, is entitled to make application for a certificate of 
naturalisation and to be admitted to his new nationality regardless ot 
whether he has been duly discharged from his former allegiance. As 
long as special permission from the State has not been obtained, a 
Russian subject remains a Russian subject, his naturalisation in another 
country being null and void in the eyes of Russian law. A curious 
acknowledgement of this is contained in the annotation on the pass- 
port of such Russians naturalised in Great Britain, to the effect that 
the British Embassy in Russia is unable to protect the bearer in case 
he returns to Russia. 

The same practice is observed by the United States in respect of 
naturalised subjects who, having left Russia without severing the bond 
of allegiance and evading compulsory military service, contend, on 
returning to Russia, to be immune from that obligation on account of 
their naturalisation abroad. In consular practice cases of dual nationa- 
lity offer great difficulties, as persons claiming duality of nationality are 
inclined to claim the rights and to evade the duties of both national!- 


ties by an ingenuous system of playing off the one against the other. 
During the war cases were not infrequent when Russians of alien origin 
w r ho had been naturalised in Great Britain claimed, on their return to 
Russia, freedom from compulsory military service, on the score of 
their adopted foreign nationality, and likewise, when they were in 
Great Britain they again tried to evade military service on the plea 
that they were still Russian subjects. 

Dual nationality arises in every case where jus soli and jus 
sanguinis establish citizenship in opposition to each other. A child 
born on State territory, whatever his nationality may be, acquires ipso 
facto citizenship in the United States, Argentine, Venezuela, Chile, 
Bolivia, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Uruguay, Paraguay, Haiti, San Domingo. 
The same principle is observed in Great Britain, Portugal and Mexico, 
with this difference, that when the child attains his majority, he is 
free to decide whether he wishes to be governed by jus soli or jus 
sanguinis. On the other hand, European countries, with the exception 
of Great Britain and Portugal and also several states of Latin America, 
stipulate that the legitimate child should acquire the nationality of the 

The Peace Treaty of Versailles created other instances of dual 
nationality, but as a rule in those territories which had to be ceded by 
Germany and Austria, the general principle was maintained that 
voluntary acquisition of a new nationality entails ipso facto the loss 
of the previous one. Therefore, the voluntary option of Germans in 
the ceded lands for allegiance to the new territorial sovereignty, meant 
automatically loss of German nationality, but this principle which helps 
to avoid dual nationality, is not applicable in all cases. For instance, 
in the previous German districts of Eupen and Malmedy, which have 
become Belgian in accordance with Art. 36 of the Treaty of Versailles, 
and the subsequent decision of the Council of the League of Nations of 
September 20th, 1920, the population of these districts has acquired 
Belgian nationality. But Germany has not yet recognised this fact and 
therefore, this population is actually in the position of being Belgian 
in the eyes of the Belgians and German in the eyes of the Germans. 
In Alsace-Lorraine a double nationality exists for those German sub- 
jects who resided there before 1870 and their descendants, and have 
not been allowed the right of option by the Peace Treaty of Versailles. 
That treaty undertook to redress the wrong occasioned to France by 
the Treaty of Frankfurt, and the return to French allegiance for all 
those who lost it in 1871 to Germany. It appears therefore, that those 
who did not lose it to Germany - - being then Germans - - do not 
come under the Treaty of Versailles and are still of German nationality, 
although France may claim them as French subjects on account of their 
domicile being in Alsace-Lorraine, which is now a French territory. 

Finally the Italian law of June 13th, 1912, Art. 7., expressly makes 
it possible for an adult to possess two nationalities and the German 
Staatsangehorigkeitsgesetz of July 22nd 1913, likewise follows suit. 
From a formal point of view no objection can be raised against 13 

*) Borchard. Diplomatic Protection, New York, 1919. Page 577. 

45 - 

and 33 of the German law which provides that previous German 
subjects naturalised abroad, may on application regain their citizenship 
if they sever the bond of their new nationality. But 25 (2) goes even 
farther, in providing that the German subject may, after naturalisation 
abroad, retain his German nationality if he has previously secured 
permission from his Home authorities to remain German.. This is 
nothing short of encouraging double nationality, and is an open breach 
of the generally recognised principle that double allegiance cannot be 
admitted before the forum of international law. Germany has also of 
old considered as permissible that her nationals may enter a foreign 
State service without losing their allegiance. Of course the country 
involved had to consent. In previous days, Russia did not object to 
this arrangement; Turkey was another country where German officers 
occupied commissions in the best regiments of the army, retaining at 
the same time their own nationality. But some years before the war, 
Russia promulgated a law making it a rule that civil and military 
service of foreigners implied their naturalisation in the Empire. 

Double nationality can only be avoided when naturalisation in 
another country implies, ipso facto, the severance of the previous bond 
of allegiance. 

Each state has, of course, the right to decide under what conditions 
it grants naturalisation, and in this respect its sovereignty cannot be 
questioned, but as it is unable to prevent voluntary expatriation which, 
as an appanage of personal freedom, has nowadays been recognised by 
the majority of civilised states, it is de facto unable to prevent naturali- 
sation abroad, and the only graceful way to acknowledge voluntary 
expatriation would therefore be to accept the fact without reservation, 
and thus put an end to double nationality. 

By the same author 

exaibH o eiyfleHHeeKoft 

1. H 2. 

C. DeTepSyprb. 

L'extorialite des Souverains, vaisseaux de 
guerres, consuls en Orient etc. 

Puttkammer & Miihlbrecht, Berlin. 

, en 

Zinserling, Mellin, Petrograd. 

Guide for Russian consular officers and those 
having business relations with Russia 

1 and 2 edition. 
P. S. King & Sons, Ltd. London. 

Problems confronting Russia 

P. S. King & Sons, Ltd. London. 

HeiBepiB Btaa Ha PoeeifteKOft 
KOHeyjibeKofl ejiy)K6t 

Puttkammer & Miihlbrecht, Berlin. 

Der christliche Glaube und die Naturnotwendig- 
keit aller Dinge 

Puttkammer & Miihlbrecht, Berlin. 

The Republic of Esthonia and 
Private Property 

Ernest Fromme 

The Baits 
in the History of Esthonia 

Robert Baltenius 

Agrarian Reform in Esthonia 

a Means of Suppressing the Racial Minorities 

George Bogdanoff 

Agrarian Reform in Esthonia 

from the Legal Point of View 

Arthur Weller 


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